vs. Insurers

In 1988, California voters approved Proposition 103, the nation’s toughest insurance regulation law. A core mission of Consumer Watchdog is to ensure the full implementation of Proposition 103, and to defend its reforms against the almost ceaseless attacks that have been mounted against it by the insurance industry in the Legislature as well as in the judicial branch. Consumer Watchdog's Litigation Project lawyers have prevailed in virtually every major battle to protect Proposition 103's provisions and succeeded in its campaigns to implement several core provisions of Proposition 103.

Consumer Watchdog’s attorneys are constantly in court, and in the administrative court system run by the Department of Insurance, to prevent insurance companies from overcharging the public, improperly denying claims filed by policyholders, false advertising or engaging in other abuses.


The three main objectives of our insurance litigation

Reversing overcharges and blocking other unfair practices. Many practices that lead to higher premiums or denial of applications for coverage, or denial of claims, are illegal under California law. We sue to stop them.

Implementing Proposition 103 and defending it against insurance industry attacks. Insurance companies spent $80 million trying to defeat Proposition 103 at the ballot box. When they lost that battle, they started attacking it in the courts and in the legislature. Our lawyers have successfully defended the reforms against industry attacks and have made sure the reforms go into effect as the voters intended.

Fighting for lower car, home and business insurance premiums. Our lawyers have blocked an estimated $1.7 billion in rate increases and made sure that California consumers got over $1.2 billion in refund checks.


Reversing overcharges and blocking other unfair practices

  •  Consumer Watchdog sues Safeco Insurance Company for illegally and surreptitiously surcharging customers who had a lapse in insurance coverage or were previously uninsured. UPDATE: Court orders Safeco to disclose who it overcharged.
  •  Consumer Watchdog objects to and improves settlement of a class action lawsuit against Mercury Insurance Company for overcharges. UPDATE: Class members must redeem Mercury coupons by April 2010. More >>
  •  Consumer Watchdog joins Insurance Commissioner's complaint against deliberate overcharges by Mercury Insurance Company. CASE UPDATE: Mercury tries to keep agency report on its conduct from public. More >>
  •  Auto Club and GEICO agree to refund over $23 million to motorists for overcharges.
  •  Consumer Watchdog joins Department of Insurance to obtain $1.2 million in refunds plus a $2 million fine paid by Farmers Insurance for penalizing homeowners who filed claims under their insurance policy.
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Implementing Proposition 103 and defending it against insurance industry attacks.

  •  Consumer Watchdog vindicates the right of consumers to go to court against insurance companies that violate Proposition 103. More >>
  •  After eighteen-year battle, Consumer Watchdog wins new rules to end automobile insurance zip code-based rating in California.
  •  Consumer Watchdog fights to protect formula that limits excessive home, auto and business insurance rates.
  •  New regulations under Proposition 103 require insurance companies to base premiums on annual mileage, and control how annual mileage is verified.
  •  Consumer Watchdog defends regulations requiring insurance companies to pay the costs of fighting for fair rates.
  •  Regulations that control when an insurance company can claim a motorist was "at fault" in a car accident are issued.
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