Sunday, May 17, 2009


STATE FARM's 3.3 million California auto insurance policyholders received news that the state Department of Insurance has approved an eight percent, $219 million rate cut. The 8 percent rate cut is a statewide average. The actual savings for individual policyholders may be different, depending on a number of rating factors. State Farm ( reduced auto rates in California by 7.6 percent in 2004 ($215 million); 4.2 percent in 2005 ($110 million); and 10.1 percent in 2007 ($266 million). The company also returned $195 million to policyholders in the form of a dividend in March of 2007. The effective date for the new rate cut is July 6, 2009.

  • California Commissioner Steve Poizner announced that Shawn Rene Dodd, 43, of Bakersfield, was arrested and charged with uncertified practice of medicine, making false or fraudulent insurance claims, money laundering, commission of a felony while on bail and selling stocks without a license. Dodd's bail was set at $1,000,000. If convicted, she could face a maximum of nine years and four months in prison for these charges. Since her previous arrest in 2007, Dodd allegedly continued to operate medical corporations, which were used to fraudulently bill insurance carriers. At one point, insurers were billed for medical services reportedly rendered when there were no doctors present. It is alleged that Dodd attempted to defraud insurance companies of at least $100,000. Dodd allegedly operated these fraudulent companies while on $500,000 bail for previous felony charges.

  • Liberty Northwest, a Liberty Mutual Agency Markets regional company, and the Montana State Chamber of Commerce are offering Montana employers a new workers’ compensation group program with an emphasis on workplace safety and controlling losses.

    Underwritten by Liberty Northwest, Montana Safety Choices prioritizes safety in the workplace through member employers’ commitment to participate in intensive loss prevention and safety training with the insurer throughout the year. In turn, Liberty Northwest provides group members with competitive workers’ comp rates and the potential for a group retrospective return on premium based on policy year safety results. Member employers also receive a 5% premium credit for maintaining a qualifying drug-free workplace program during the policy period.

    For information, go to Independent agents appointed with Liberty Northwest can also provide information, quotes, and registration. Businesses may contact Rick Burkhalter with Liberty Northwest at or 800-735-7079 ext. 2418 or Webb Brown at the Montana Chamber of Commerce at or 888-442-MONT (6668) ext. 101.

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