Geico aims to steer auto-insurance bills into ditch
Posted by 5Boroughs Insurance Agency on
Greg Kalinsky, executive vice president and chief information officer of Government Employees Insurance Corp. (GEICO), during the International Business Machines Corp. (IBM) Think Conference in San Francisco, California.
Geico is telling New York customers they can save money on their car insurance by lobbying politicians to oppose a pair of bills pending in Albany.
Caught in the legislative traffic jam of the state legislative session’s final days are a pair of proposals that would expose property and vehicle insurance firms to private lawsuits if they attempt to avoid paying the full amount of a customer’s claim. With the capitol closing up after Wednesday and both bills stuck in committee, it seemed unlikely either will pass this year.
Even so, the proposals set off alarms in the Maryland-based Berkshire Hathaway subsidiary. Senior Vice President Richard Hoagland blasted an email to the company’s New York customers Monday urging customers to call their state lawmakers to express opposition to the measures, which it warned would cause motorists’ bills to rise.
“The New York state Senate and Assembly are considering multiple pieces of legislation in the next few days that, should they pass, will likely increase insurance premiums for YOU and all New Yorkers, even if you’ve never had an accident,” Hoagland wrote.
Hoagland went on to blame the tort-lawyer lobby for the high costs of auto insurance in the Empire State, and claimed the two bills could increase collective payments by $7 billion a year.
Weinstein’s office dismissed these allegations as inaccurate and self-interested, and maintained the bills would allow consumers to seek damages when their insurer engages in dishonest or “bad faith” practices.