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Week of 8.17.07

Home Insurance 9-1-1

In the fall of 2003, one of the largest recorded wildfires in California's history destroyed over 2,200 houses and killed fifteen people. Soon after, many who'd lost their homes had a rude awakening: their insurance did not nearly cover their losses as expected.

The insurance industry, which claims to cover "more property, more lives, more liability-related risks than any time at history," is busy fighting allegations that customers are receiving smaller payouts than what they were promised. This week, NOW collaborates with Bloomberg Markets magazine to investigate tactics some insurance companies may be using to reduce, avoid, or stall homeowners' claims in an effort to boost their own earnings.

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"The insurance industry...is purposely misleading customers," California Lieutenant Governor and former Insurance Commissioner John Garamendi tells NOW. "The first commandment of the insurance industry is, 'Thou shalt pay as little, as late, as possible.'...You go to financial heaven if you can carry out that commandment."

The insurance industry is enjoying record-breaking profits, but who's paying the price?

Related Links

Bloomberg: Home Insurers' Secret Tactics Cheat Fire Victims, Hike Profits

The Foundation for Taxpayer & Consumer Rights: Information about Homeowners Insurance

United Policyholders: State by State Help

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