Court denies Mercury Casualty Company’s petition to stay Insurance Commissioner Jones’ rate reduction order based on decision obtained through efforts by Zohar
(THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE ISSUED BY THE CALIFORNIA DEPARTMENT OF INSURANCE. THE ORDER ISSUED BY THE COMMISSIONER ADOPTED A DECISION BY AN ADMINISTRATIVE LAW JUDGE AFTER WEEKS OF EVIDENTIARY HEARINGS. DANIEL Y. ZOHAR PRESENTED THE CASE ON BEHALF OF THE SEVERAL HUNDRED THOUSAND POLICYHOLDERS WITH MERCURY, AND THE DECISION AND ORDER LARGELY ADOPTED THE FACTUAL AND LEGAL CONTENTIONS ARGUED BY ZOHAR, SAVING CONSUMERS MILLIONS OF DOLLARS PER YEAR IN REDUCED PREMIUMS.)
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, May 8, 2013 (#037)
SACRAMENTO – The Sacramento Superior Court has denied Mercury Casualty Company’s petition for a stay to delay implementation of Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones’ order directing Mercury Casualty to reduce its excessive homeowner insurance rates.
“This is a significant legal victory in our fight to ensure insurance rates are not excessive,” said Commissioner Jones. “The 8.18 percent rate reduction in my original order provides much-needed financial relief for homeowners and helps consumers keep more of their hard-earned dollars in today’s tight economy.”
This most recent court order is the latest event in an ongoing legal effort by Mercury Casualty to challenge the insurance commissioner’s authority to regulate rates. Mercury Casualty originally requested a rate increase of 3.91 percent in its rate application, but amended that to a 7.35 percent increase during the administrative law judge’s hearing on Mercury’s homeowner rate application.
Commissioner Jones ordered Mercury to reduce its maximum homeowners’ rates, approving a decision recommended to him by an administrative law judge following an extensive public hearing on Mercury’s original request for a rate increase. The reduced rates will benefit approximately 270,000 homeowners in California and save Mercury’s California customers more than $16.5 million.
“We vigorously opposed Mercury’s effort to deny consumers the benefit of a rate reduction while Mercury continues its meritless effort to challenge the insurance commissioner’s established authority to reject excessive rate hikes,” said Commissioner Jones. “The Court made the right decision in rejecting Mercury’s petition to stay the rate reduction. We will continue to fight against Mercury and the insurance industry associations’ efforts to challenge the long settled consumer protections in Proposition 103.”