2910 North 44th Street, Suite 210, Phoenix, Arizona 85018-7256 · (602) 912-8456 · FAX: (602) 912-8452

Contact: Greg Harris 97-9

Executive Assistant Director FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

602/912-8451 June 10, 1997

John A. Greene, the Director of the Arizona Department of Insurance, announced today the availability of the Department's Spring 1997 Automobile Premium Comparison Survey and the publication of the Personal Lines Complaint Ratio for calendar year 1996.

"The Department publishes the Premium Comparison twice each year to encourage insurance consumers to compare insurers' prices when purchasing personal automobile insurance," Greene said, but also cautioned that "although price is always a consideration, consumers should also consider an insurer's claims handling and policyholder service, the insurer's overall reputation and the type of insurance contract and coverage available."

Sixty-eight insurers, writing approximately 90% of the insurance written in Arizona on automobiles, provided the quotations contained in the 53 page Premium Comparison. Phoenix, Scottsdale, Mesa, Glendale, Tucson, Casa Grande, Flagstaff, Nogales, Safford, and Yuma were the locales for 12 different hypotheticals contained in the Premium Comparison that include drivers whose ages vary as do their driving records and vehicle use. Additionally, the Premium Comparison provides a list of insurer telephone numbers and an information page describing basic insurance coverages.

Greene said that the information page provides a starting point for prospective applicants to use when considering coverages, but recommended that applicants ask either the insurance agents or the insurer about the details of the coverage. Greene further suggested that consumers read the insurance policy to gain a full understanding of the insurance product being purchased.

The Complaint Ratio, published once each year, contains information about the 101 insurers writing approximately 95 percent of all private passenger, homeowners and dwelling fire insurance in Arizona. Each insurer had 5,000 or more policies in force during the period covered by this publication.

Greene described the Complaint Ratio as a "publication particularly useful to the purchaser of automobile insurance when reviewed with the Premium Comparison." The ratios represent the number of written complaints received by the Department for each 1,000 policies an insurer had in force during the 1996 calendar year. The Complaint Ratio shows both the total number of in force policies and the number of written complaints received by the Department.

According to Greene, "The Complaint Ratio assists consumers by providing information regarding the complaint histories of insurers in Arizona. The Complaint Ratio does not reflect a determination by the Department of Insurance of whether a complaint may be justified. Instead, the publication merely represents the total number of all written policyholder complaints received by the Department during 1996."

Greene suggested that consumers use the complaint ratio with the Premium Comparison or the Homeowners Premium Comparison Survey also published by the Department when shopping for insurance. "When used together, these Department publications give the consumer a more accurate picture of an insurer's reliability as well as the price it charges for insurance," said Greene.

The complaint ratios are used by the Department to identify potential problems requiring prompt regulatory action, which might include an examination of an insurer's business practices. The ratios help to assess an individual company's performance over an entire year and to identify developing long-term trends which may have a negative impact on consumers.

The Premium Comparison, the Complaint Ratio, and "The Most Frequently Asked Questions" (Automobile) may also be obtained from the Department's internet web page, located at http://www.state.az.us/id on the World Wide Web.

Greene stated "Arizona has a noncancellation law limiting the reasons an insurer may cancel a personal automobile insurance policy after it has been in effect for more than 60 days. Some of the reasons include failure to pay premium and having been convicted for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. However, insurers may cancel a policy for any reason during the first 60 days after the issuance of a policy. Consumers who change insurance companies should be especially careful to avoid citations or accidents during this initial sixty-day period."

Anyone wishing to receive the Automobile Premium Comparison and the latest available Complaint Ratio may obtain copies through the World Wide Web or by writing to the CONSUMER SERVICES DIVISION, Arizona Department of Insurance 2910 North 44th Street, Suite 210, Phoenix, Arizona 85018, or by calling the Consumer Services Division in Phoenix at 602/912-8444 or in Tucson at 520/628-6370 or by dialing toll-free within the state at 800/325-2548.