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CA Department of Insurance

Consumer Watchdog news release misleading

News: 2016 Press Release

For Release: August 10, 2016
Media Calls Only: 916-492-3566
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Consumer Watchdog news release misleading
Commissioner Jones requests Consumer Watchdog formally retract news release

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Yesterday, Consumer Watchdog issued a news release about State Farm that includes inaccurate statements and is misleading.

The Consumer Watchdog news release falsely stated that a judge made a decision "ordering the company [State Farm] to refund policyholders at least $85 million for overcharges" and "ordered that going forward, State Farm must decrease its homeowners insurance rates by 7.0%".

To the contrary, no such order has been issued by a judge or by Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones. No final decision has been made on the State Farm rate case. Commissioner Jones has the final authority in the case and will make a final decision at the conclusion of the case, which is still pending.

Commissioner Jones requests Consumer Watchdog retract its false and misleading news release and respect the Proposition 103 rate setting process in this case.

Consumer Watchdog is a party to the State Farm proceeding and knows that no order rebating rates or reducing rates has been issued in the case. The Consumer Watchdog news release confuses consumers and the media into believing that consumers are now entitled to a rate rebate and reduction, when no such order has been issued.

Instead of the order, which Consumer Watchdog falsely says was issued, an administrative law judge (ALJ) made a recommendation—a proposed decision—for Commissioner Jones to consider based on evidence and arguments made at the State Farm rate hearing.

Rather than issuing his final decision, Commissioner Jones ordered the case to be returned to the ALJ to take additional evidence regarding what interest rate, if any, might be applicable.

After evidence is taken by the ALJ the rate case will be formally submitted to Commissioner Jones to consider, after which he will make a decision and issue a final order. Until then, the case is still pending and there is no order rebating rates or reducing rates.

The California Department of Insurance, established in 1868, is the largest consumer protection agency in California. Insurers collect $310 billion in premiums annually in California. Since 2011 the California Department of Insurance received more than 1,000,000 calls from consumers and helped recover over $469 million in claims and premiums. Please visit the Department of Insurance website at Non-media inquiries should be directed to the Consumer Hotline at 800.927.4357. Telecommunications Devices for the Deaf (TDD), please dial 800.482.4833.

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