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Words are wonderful friends, even those that appear in insurance policies. Get those words on your side, and you've got those pesky insurers right where you want them (although not, as Sarah Palin would have us say, in your crosshairs because that might be misunderstood as inciting violence). So here we are again in California, the home of the consumer activists who insist on trying to protect people against the insurance industry. The nerve of these dangerous lefties who dare challenge the mighty gods of capitalism. First it was this whole thing about ZIP codes. Wow, was there ever anything so blown out of proportion. So what if using ZIP codes lumps all drivers together regardless of driving skill and experience. Anyone who can't afford to live in a neighborhood with a decent code deserves everything coming their way. But, no, that all had to stop. Now insurers have to take the time to look at their policyholders as individuals. All that extra administrative work to press keys on their PCs. The strain on those finger muscles is almost beyond belief. But sacrifices have to be made if the voters are allowed their say.


Well, now the Department of Insurance has been interfering again! This time, the Commissioner has been excited by the massive advertising campaign behind the "accident forgiveness' policy. Now what could be better than this? Here we have a leading insurer promising not to hit its insured with premium hikes if they make a claim or pick up a ticket. Is this not something special? Is this not something the Commissioner should be applauding as really great underwriting, recognizing people may have a bad day, allowing one mistake to pass without any penalty? Well, no! The Commissioner looked at the ads which have been high profile by Allstate and two of its subsidiaries. He asked Allstate which confirmed that several hundred thousand people had signed up. So were all these guys suckers? Did they need some Big Government stooge to step in to protect them?

Well, yes. The Commissioner thought the ads deceptive and unfair. The way the scheme worked was to increase the current premiums by 15% to buy the promise not to increase the rates if there was an accident or a ticket. To find out for sure, the Commissioner asked Allstate for details of how they currently treat people who do claim or pick up a ticket, and then for comparative information on how this practise would change under the new policy. For some reason, the company decided to scrap the new policy. All that money spent on ads has been thrown away. All policyholders will be phased back to the old terms.

Now no one is suggesting Allstate was just conning folk with these car insurance rates but it's hard not to think that way. Why else would it just shut down the policy? Ah well, we should give Allstate the benefit of the doubt. The result is that all the folk who signed up for these new policies will now be back on what will seem cheap car insurance. Perhaps we should look see what's happening in other states.

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