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Posted by tonyb on November 27, 2000 at 05:50:33:
In Reply to: CALIF. OFFICIALS SEEK TO VOID INSURANCE SETTLEMENTS posted by Sure-Net.com on November 22, 2000 at 05:57:34:
INSURANCE INDUSTRY SPOILS THANKSGIVING FOR QUAKE VICTIMS
The insurance industry has filed suit today in the California Supreme Court to undo one of the key
consumer protections to come out of the Quackenbush-Insurance scandal. The suit seeks to stay
implementation of SB 1899 (Burton), which allows certain Northridge quake victims to take an unfair
insurer to court, if they were previously denied that right due to a statue of limitations.
"The insurance industry has spoiled Thanksgiving for many quake victims who have waited five years for a
fair hearing of their insurance claim," said Douglas Heller, consumer advocate with The Foundation for
Taxpayer and Consumer Rights. "While the insurance industry's lawsuit should be dismissed by the
Supreme Court, the Legislature must look to further contain this industry, which resists accountability at
every turn. It is a real sign that California needs deeper insurance reform to protect policyholders from this
Advocates noted that the primary insurance accountability reform produced by the Legislature in 1999 was
also attacked by the industry after passage. It was subjected to a $50 million referenda campaign by the
According to consumer advocates, thousands of Californians who lived through the January 17, 1994
Northridge earthquake have yet to receive full and fair compensation from their insurance company to
cover the costs incurred as a result of the quake. Many of the victims received partial settlements for their
earthquake claim and others received no compensation after being told that the damage was below their
policy deductible. In subsequent years, families have found damage that was ignored or missed by the
original adjuster, yet intransigent insurers have stonewalled these claims leaving homes, condominiums
and apartment buildings in disrepair.
SB 1899 provides policyholders, who were denied the right to sue their insurer because of a one year
statute of limitations, access to the courts to seek remedy against the unfair and illegal behavior of their
insurance carrier. It reopens and extends the statue of limitations for filing suit against an insurer that has
unnecessarily denied or undervalued a legitimate earthquake related claim for one year.
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