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California | SOUTHLAND FOCUS

Court Asked to Uphold ZIP Code-Based Rates

March 02, 2001|Liz Pulliam Weston

Insurance Commissioner Harry Low has asked the California Supreme Court to uphold regulations that allow auto insurers to use ZIP Codes when determining rates. In a brief filed this week, Low opposed consumer groups that had hoped to enlist him in their drive to overturn the regulations drawn up under Low's predecessor, Chuck Quackenbush. Consumers Union and the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights say the regulations violate Proposition 103, which voters passed in 1988, by allowing insurers to base rates largely on where a driver lives rather than on a driver's safety record, experience or miles driven. On Dec. 29, a state appeals court upheld the Quackenbush regulations. The consumer groups appealed the decision to the Supreme Court and urged Low to join them. Low's brief, however, says there are no grounds for a high court review, saying the appeals court "conducted an extensive and thorough analysis . . . before reaching its independent and carefully considered decision."

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