"Job and education level are being used as proxies for race and class" says Consumer Watchdog Executive Director Carmen Balber. Drivers working blue-collar jobs, without college degrees or those who live in less affluent neighborhoods are being discriminated against and end up paying more for their car insurance.
Car suppliers – like Harman International – and major automakers are spending more than they ever have on securing vehicles. But a Consumer Watchdog study says safety concerns related to connected cars are only increasing. Others in the auto industry say those fears may be overblown.
Jamie Court says a portion of the unclaimed CRV deposits currently held by the state should be allocated to keeping recycling centers open and accessible to consumers. Just 10 to 20 million of the $300 million in unclaimed deposits would help keep centers afloat.
A man posed as a surgical assistant in the hospital operating room at several hospitals and stole from patients and employees. The police were not able to find any kind of licensing, credentials or qualifications. Consumer Watchdog President Jamie Court says hospitals are responsible for everyone they bring in as a contractor.
Californians living in high fire danger areas are facing an insurance crisis as companies are drastically increasing their rates or dropping their policies completely.
Consumer Watchdog President Jamie Court says Insurance Commissioner Lara can do more to prevent discrimination against people and protect Californians in high fire risk areas with his regulatory powers.
Homeowners in high fire risk areas are experiencing insurance premium increases of up to 4 times more expensive, some not being renewed at all.
Consumer Watchdog President Jamie Court says that we should enforce tighter restrictions on insurance companies so they are not be able to raise homeowners insurance premiums this drastically for consumers in these fire risk areas. “We should make sure that the people who are seeing the biggest premium hikes are able to get a break if they are fire-hardening or fire-safing their home but that will take the insurance commissioner digging in and getting tough on insurance companies and we haven't seen that yet.”
“As Insurance Commissioner, you have broad power that you are not using to prevent insurance companies from unfairly penalizing homeowners,” Consumer Watchdog Executive Director Carmen Balber wrote. “There is a way, now it is up to you to demonstrate the will.”
ABC10 asked Lara to respond to the letter Wednesday night, following a packed meeting he led at the Gold Country Fairgrounds in Auburn.
In the letter, Balber outlines three emergency rules she says Lara can issue now to protect homeowners.
She wants Lara to require each insurance company that does business in California to offer a discount to homeowners who make investments in hardening their home against wildfires – work like that which the Caseys did, clearing trees and bushes. She likens it to automobile insurance companies giving discounts to safe drivers.
Consumer Watchdog is also asking Lara to "bar the use of claims software that low-balls the cost of repair and reconstruction" and stop insurance companies from using any wildfire risk models “that lead to excessive or discriminatory rates,” citing the FireLine® score, which is now infamous to homeowners in fire-prone areas. Insurance companies use it to determine homeowners' fire risk and whether to sell them fire insurance.
United States Senators Ed Markey and Richard Blumenthal have written to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to ask if carmakers have reported the cybersecurity vulnerabilities in their Internet-connected cars and what steps NHTSA is taking to address the problem.
The senators called for the answers from the America’s top car safety regulator in response to Consumer Watchdog’s recent report, “Kill Switch: How Connected Cars Can Be Killing Machines and How to Turn Them Off.” The report, prepared with the help of car industry technologists, found that all the top 2020 cars have Internet connections to safety critical systems that leave them vulnerable to fleet wide hacks.
The largest fine issued against a car insurance company in California has been upheld by the state supreme court. As mandated by Prop 103, insurance companies must charge fair premiums and get the insurance commissioners's approval for those rates.However Mercury had been overcharging consumers by adding broker fees on top of premiums. The California supreme court has upheld the decision that Mercury must pay the $27 million fine.