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Auto Club Hunts for Insurance Rebate Recipients

TIMES STAFF WRITER

The Automobile Club of Southern California, the only major insurer to voluntarily give Proposition 103 rebates to its policyholders, appealed Thursday for help in locating 24,000 customers who have not claimed their checks.

In advertisements taken out in 20 daily newspapers, the company declared: “Take Our Money, Please.”

The 550,000 rebate checks had gone out to people who were policyholders in 1989. Because some of these people have canceled their policies and moved, the auto club ads exhorted: “Please help us find these people!”

Layna Browdy, a spokeswoman for the auto club, said the call for documentation is designed as a safeguard against fraudulent claims. The average rebate check owed the former customers exceeds $200.

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As the auto club took the last steps to honor an agreement reached with Insurance Commissioner John Garamendi in October calling for the return of $80 million to policyholders, 13 other major companies continue to fight his order to rebate $1.4 billion.

Steven Miller, deputy insurance commissioner in charge of implementing Proposition 103, said Garamendi continues to have discussions with insurers on following the auto club in voluntary compliance, but no progress can be reported.

The commissioner pledged in October to issue a second series of orders covering other companies by the end of the year, for a total of another $1 billion, but Miller said that that deadline will not be met.

One large company that entered into discussions with Garamendi, USAA, recently told its California policyholders that it found his order that it give back $111.7 million to be unacceptable.

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Also, a Los Angeles Superior Court judge recently rejected an attempt by 20th Century--which had been ordered to rebate $106.4 million--to invalidate the standards used by Garamendi. The company is appealing Garamendi’s orders through an administrative hearing.


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