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California and the West

Insurers to Cut Home, Auto Rates

September 14, 2006|Marc Lifsher | Times Staff Writer

California Insurance Commissioner John Garamendi's drive to lower automobile and homeowner insurance rates is expected to pay off again today for consumers.

This time, the beneficiaries will be auto policyholders with 21st Century Insurance Group and homeowners who are covered by Safeco Insurance. Savings will be about $96.5 million, the commissioner said.

"It's another victory for Californians," Garamendi said. He recently announced substantial rate reductions in auto and homeowner premiums by a number of major companies, including market leader State Farm Mutual Insurance Co.

The 21st Century rates comply with new Department of Insurance regulations requiring that premiums be based on a driver's record, not the ZIP Code where a car is parked at night.

Average motorists could save about $219, the department said.

The commissioner has scheduled a media event today at the Department of Motor Vehicles in Hollywood to announce a 12% average decrease in auto rates for about 318,000 drivers in Greater Los Angeles.

Most of the Woodland Hills-based company's other 420,000 customers in California will see their rates go down an average of 5% as early as November.

21st Century, originally 20th Century when it was founded in 1958 in downtown Los Angeles, is glad to be able to save money for the 43% of its California customers who live in the Southland, said Bruce Marlow, president and chief executive.

"We're very happy to be delivering a rate decrease for our Los Angeles customers. They've been the core of the company for almost 50 years," he said.

Seattle-based Safeco plans to cut its homeowner premiums for 189,000 Californians an average of 20%, saving policyholders $190 annually, the department said.


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