A San Clemente woman, aided by a consumer watchdog, is suing the Automobile Club of Southern California (AAA) for allegedly concocting an auto insurance scheme that discriminates against potential customers.
Jill Rogers should know of what she speaks; she's a former AAA insurance agent.
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At a news conference Thursday, Rogers alleged Auto Club insurance sales agents were penalized if they sold policies to first-time drivers or others who had no coverage before. She claimed some agents even hung up on customers if there was a negative answer to, "Do you have prior insurance?" It's said to have played out in a point system used to calculate agent commissions.
Her suit seeks back pay for agents denied commissions under the so-called scheme.
Harvey Rosenfield, the Santa Monica attorney, Consumer Watchdog co-founder and tireless critic of the insurance industry, stood by Rogers' side at the news event to remind people Proposition 103 has, since its passage in 1988, forbid insurance companies from discriminating against people with no prior insurance.
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He said by denying drivers such coverage, AAA is encouraging people to drive uninsured.
The Auto Club, which is headquartered in Costa Mesa, has released a statement countering the allegations, claiming the suit is "without merit," that more than 40 percent of this year's new AAA customers had no prior coverage and that, as far as the company knows, it is in compliance will all state laws.
But AAA does concede to using a point system to determine commissions.