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USAA auto premiums to drop 7% in California

The reduction affects nearly 1 million vehicles. Bills for customers in L.A. County will be cut by about 15%, says the state's 10th-biggest auto insurer.

August 05, 2009|Marc Lifsher

SACRAMENTO — Owners of nearly 1 million California vehicles covered by insurance company USAA collectively will save about $48 million, thanks to a 7% rate decrease effective today.

State Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner approved the reduction for the insurer, which specializes in serving active-duty, retired and former members of the armed forces and their families.

Los Angeles County customers of USAA, the state's 10th-biggest auto insurer, will save more than twice as much as the statewide average. Their bills will go down by about 15%, saving them an average of $262, the company said.

The USAA rate cut is the latest in a series of premium reductions by major auto insurers in California during the last three years. Poizner said that he's approved about $1.3 billion in cuts to consumers' annual bills requested by firms since he took office in January 2005.

Among the firms lowering premiums were 21st Century, State Farm, Mercury General, GEICO and the automobile clubs of Northern and Southern California, Poizner said.

Insurance analysts and industry officials attribute the lower rates to a drop in claims linked to people driving less, driving more safely and riding in safer cars.

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marc.lifsher@latimes.com

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