Troubleshooter: Insurance confusion

May 15, 2008 10:03:21 PM PDT
It's a car insurance ad that promises cash back if you're a safe driver. The problem is that driver's here in North Carolina don't even qualify for the plan.

Larry Powell tells Troubleshooter Diane Wilson, "I saw the ad on TV and I kept seeing and thought we hadn't gotten anything." Larry was already an Allstate customer and thought he'd be the perfect candidate for a safe driving bonus check. He adds, "I have no speeding tickets no wrecks." But when he called his agent to upgrade, he couldn't believe what he heard. He says, "The agent said we don't do it in NC. I said why and she said the paperwork has been laying on the insurance commissioner's desk for 9 months and he won't sign it." Larry couldn't understand that since the commercial airs at his house all hours of the day. He says, "I know people are confused like I'm confused."

Larry's not the only one with questions. The NC Department of Insurance rep Chrissy Pearson says, "Unfortunately haven't been able to change advertising and we have very confused consumers out there." Pearson, Allstate's plan is not sitting on the commissioner's desk.

She says Allstate's never even filed for it here because it doesn't meet state law. She adds, "The Allstate program would throw different factors in, different weights, change things in such a way that it would qualify different rating plan, not allowed under NC law." And, she says Allstate has no plans to file for it here.

She tells Troubleshooter Diane Wilson, "We know this is not going to go anywhere. There's no point in wasting any one's time. So unfortunately advertisement's out there that appear to be national ads and NC consumers are still asking questions and it's been very hard getting that word out."

During the commercial, there's no mention that the safe driving bonus is not available here in North Carolina. But, at the very end of the spot, in small print, it does say, "Not available in all states." Larry Powell didn't see the fine print, but he knows what he heard. He says, "He's holding up a check and he says how would you like these rebates." A claim Larry says is misleading and wishes would be changed at least here in North Carolina.

Allstate says they offer the safe driving bonus, which is called the Your Choice Auto in 45 states and the District of Columbia. 83% of the country's population is eligible for the product. The ads are being run on the national networks which means all areas that receive network coverage see the ads. Allstate also adds, they've sent letters to their North Carolina agents letting them know the safe driving bonus is not available here.


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