Friday, August 31, 2007

Oxendine Should Support Consumers

By: Joe Watkins
President of the Georgia Trial Lawyers Association

The case of a couple whose own insurance company, Progressive, sent undercover Private Investigators to spy on them at private Bible Study is heartbreaking to say the least—but, sadly, not all that surprising, given the antics of some insurance companies. In this case, rather than paying out the UM insurance coverage for which the couple dutifully paid premiums every month, Progressive engaged in reprehensible measures in an attempt to save a buck.

What is surprising is Commissioner John Oxendine’s condemnation of Progressive’s conduct. He was quoted on 8-30 in the AJC to say, “Georgia policyholders should expect an open and honest relationship with their insurance company…We have to act promptly to protect the consumer.”
While we applaud Commissioner Oxendine’s stance, in this instance, concerning Progressive’s obviously inappropriate conduct, the Commissioner, unfortunately, is not always so supportive of Georgia’s consumers. Indeed, Commissioner Oxendine is adamantly opposed to a bill to protect consumers who elect to purchase UM coverage.

SB 276, authored by Senator Cecil Staton (R), allows for the stacking of elective UM coverage on top of liability insurance when you are in a serious accident. Consumers think that the premiums they pay on this optional insurance already do that, like they do in 23 other states.
But here in GA you don’t always get what you pay for.
SB 276 would ensure that you do.

Commissioner Oxendine opposes SB 276 and instead sides with the insurance industry. I hope that during this upcoming legislative session he will reflect upon his words “Protect the consumer,” stop protecting the ruthless insurance companies, like Progressive, and stand up for the people of Georgia, as an elected official should.

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