National General Insurance/Wells Fargo: California Consumer Group Files Petition to Reject Auto Insurance Rate, Investigate Fraud and Collusion
The Consumer Federation of California (CFC) filed a petition today with the California Department of Insurance (CDI) opposing an application by National General Insurance for a 6.9% increase in premiums for certain vehicle policies. Acting under Proposition 103, the CFC asked CDI to investigate National General’s automobile insurance rates in light of news reports that Wells Fargo colluded with the insurer to issue as many as 800,000 force-placed insurance policies to the bank’s vehicle loan borrowers who already had adequate insurance coverage.
National General reported that in 2016 its California automobile insurance loss ratio was 36%. This stands in contrast with the total California industry-wide 2016 auto loss ratio of 73%.
“This outrageously low rate of claims payments suggests that few California motorists knew they had been issued a National General policy. We allege that Wells Fargo colluded with National General, and received kickbacks for issuing secret policies to borrowers that were already insured with another carrier. If these borrowers were in an accident, they filed their claim with their chosen insurer. They wouldn’t have known to file with National General, who profited excessively from its arrangement with Wells Fargo to secretly double-cover and collect premiums from insured motorists,” stated Richard Holober, Executive Director of the Consumer Federation of California.
CFC petitioned Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones to:
- Review National General’s vehicle rate hike application, its apparent excessive profits, and order a rate reduction, if appropriate.
- Investigate whether, in collusion with Wells Fargo, National General failed to adequately research the insurance coverage status of Wells Fargo’s vehicle loan borrowers, inform them of its presumption of non-insurance, notify borrowers that insurance may be force-placed on them, and offer borrowers an opportunity to prove they had insurance, or to obtain their own insurance policies before National General force-placed policies on them;
- Investigate whether National General engaged in identity theft in creating secret policies without the insured’s knowledge or consent; and
- Investigate whether National General paid unlawful kickbacks in the form of commissions to Wells Fargo for steering fraudulent business their way.
Since 2013, the Consumer Federation of California has intervened in 13 insurance rate and enforcement cases, saving five million motorists and homeowners over $380 million dollars.
CFC’s petition can be viewed here: https://consumercal.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/1-CFC-Petition-for-Hearing-and-Intervention_NationalGeneral.pdf