Wells Fargo Agrees to Pay $300 Million to Settle With Shareholders Over Auto Insurance Disclosures

  • February 28, 2023

(Reuters) -Wells Fargo & Co agreed to pay $300 million to settle a shareholder lawsuit claiming the bank hid that it had pushed unnecessary insurance on auto loan customers, according to documents filed in U.S. court on Tuesday.

The Construction Laborers Pension Trust for Southern California, which led the class action brought on behalf of investors, said in federal court in San Francisco that Wells Fargo and its former chief executive, Timothy Sloan, had agreed to settle.

The bank did not admit wrongdoing.

The deal requires approval from U.S. Judge James Donato, who is overseeing the case. Trial in the case had been scheduled for Feb. 27.

“While we disagree with the allegations in this case, we are pleased to have resolved this legacy issue,” a Wells Fargo spokesperson said in a statement.

An attorney who represents Sloan did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

Scott Saham of Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd, the law firm representing Wells Fargo shareholders, said the settlement “is part of remediating the entire spectrum of harm that you get in a complex fraud case.”

The lawsuit stems from one of the San Francisco-based bank’s past scandals over sales practices that resulted in government investigations and fines.

Wells Fargo disclosed in July 2017 that hundreds of thousands of customers had been unnecessarily charged for “collateral protection insurance,” which covers auto lenders when borrowers are uninsured. The bank said it had learned of concerns a year earlier.

Shareholders sued in 2018, alleging Wells Fargo misled them when Sloan said in November 2016 that he was “not aware of any issues” when asked about the bank’s sales practices and culture.

The bank also concealed auto insurance issues from the U.S. Senate Banking Committee in November 2016, the investors alleged.

The lawsuit sought damages for investors

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Inflation may be falling, but not the cost of your car insurance

  • February 12, 2023

MIAMI – If you think news that inflation is easing means you’re not going to get hit with any more higher prices, think again.

At least, that is, if you’re paying for car insurance. There’s a very good chance your premiums this year will go up – by a lot.

The average cost of full coverage auto insurance has hit $2,014 a year nationally, up nearly 14% from last year, according to Bankrate’s annual True Cost of Auto Insurance Report, released Monday.

Why? It’s a lagging effect of high inflation from the last two years that resulted from labor and parts shortages, which in turn drove up the cost of paying insurance claims on car repairs and related insured expenses.

“Car insurance rates are reactionary,” said Cate Deventer, Bankrate’s insurance analyst.

But the good news, she added, is this: “If inflation keeps cooling we could see insurers file for rate decreases in future years.”

Plenty of other factors may increase your individual premium.

For instance, putting your teen child as a driver on your policy will jack up the rate.

Ditto if you got into an accident, had speeding tickets, or were convicted of a DUI.

Expect to pay more, too, if your credit score fell or you let your auto coverage temporarily lapse.

Another big factor in how much your premiums will cost is where you live.

“Each geographic area has different risks and costs of living, [so] the cost for car insurance varies across the nation,” Deventer said.

Among major metro areas, Bankrate found that average 2023 premiums rose the most in Orlando (up nearly 23% to $3,078), followed by Phoenix (up nearly 17% to $2,164). They fell the most in Philadelphia (down nearly 22% to $1,872) and New York City (down 14% to $2,649).

Meanwhile, as a

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Allstate losing money on car insurance even after rate hikes

  • September 9, 2022

In the second quarter, Allstate paid out nearly $1.08 to cover claims and expenses in its auto business for every dollar of premium it collected. Not including the effects of claims payments due to costly wind and hail storms, mainly in the Midwest, the auto business still was in the red to the tune of $1.02 for every dollar collected.

Allstate reports second-quarter earnings in early August. Based on auto premium levels in the recent past, the underwriting loss is likely to be in the neighborhood of $500 million.

The company said late yesterday that it has hiked rates an average of 8.3% in all 50 states plus another unidentified territory since the beginning of the year. That included a 12% increase in Illinois earlier this year. Northbrook-based Allstate is the second-largest auto insurer in its home state.

Allstate and other major auto insurers are scrambling to respond to higher costs to settle claims, thanks mainly to the rise in used-car prices. The cost of total auto losses is pegged to the cost of Replacing a vehicle.

The rate hikes are expected to continue. “Allstate continues to implement significant insurance rate increases given ongoing inflationary impacts on claim severities,” it said in the Securities & Exchange Commission filing.

The price increases are spurring pushback from regulators in some states. In Illinois, the Department of Insurance required auto insurers to disclose how much they made or lost insuring cars from 2019 to 2021.

The data, made public, showed that Allstate and several other major insurers made profits of about 15% while drivers hunkered down in their homes in 2020 and early 2021. Ordinary profits are in the single digits—often the low single digits.

Allstate appears to have spent much of that bounty buying back stock. Last year, it

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Allstate still losing money on auto insurance, despite rate increases

  • September 4, 2022

Allstate still losing money on auto insurance, despite rate increases

By Dave LaChance

In spite of raising rates by an average of 8.3% in all 50 states, Allstate continues to lose money on auto insurance, according to the company’s second quarter underwriting results.

The carrier said it paid out nearly $1.08 to cover claims and expenses in its auto business for every dollar of premium it collected. Even subtracting the effects of claims payments due to wind and hail storms, mainly in the Midwest, Allstate paid out $1.02 for every dollar in premium.

Allstate has been carrying out its pledge to investors to aggressively pursue rate increases to bring its auto insurance business back to profitability. The company reported implementing rate increases totaling $258 million in the month and $601 million in the quarter, after implementing $862 million and $702 million of rate increases in the first quarter of 2022 and fourth quarter of 2021, respectively.

In a Securities & Exchange Commission filing, Allstate said it is not done seeking higher rates. “Allstate continues to implement significant insurance rate increases given ongoing inflationary impacts on claim severities,” it said.

The carrier reported three factors reflecting “persistent increases” in loss costs:

  • Increases in physical damage costs are geographically widespread and reflect higher part prices, labor rates, and length of claim resolution.
  • Increases in injury claim costs reflect more severe auto accidents, increased medical inflation, higher consumption of medical treatment, and more claims with attorney representation.
  • Claims reported in 2021 but settled in 2022 were subject to the rising vehicle values, parts prices, and labor rates experienced during 2022, which contributed to the adverse loss of reserve development.

allstate-auto-insurance-rate-hikes” class=”external”Crain’s Chicago Business reported that, with the increases, the carrier’s rates are now

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Illinois drivers insured by Allstate to get 16% rate hike

  • September 1, 2022

This latest price move will add $315 annually to the average premium Illinois customers of Allstate are paying, according to a filing yesterday with the Illinois Department of Insurance. It takes effect Aug. 18, so existing customers will pay the higher prices whenever they renew their policies.

The two rate hikes combined will have Allstate auto customers here paying $520 more on average per year, or $43 monthly. Allstate is the second-largest auto insurer in Illinois, trailing only State Farm.

Northbrook-based Allstate isn’t the only major car insurer giving policyholders a rate shock. Geico, which for decades has advertised heavily how much customers can save by switching to it, recently notified drivers in Illinois of a 17% average rate hike.

Adding Geico’s two smaller recent price hikes, the Chevy Chase, Md.-based insurer is raising prices for most of its customers in Illinois by $470 annually on average.

Auto insurers to varying degrees are struggling to keep up with the pace of inflation in settling claims. Soaring used-car prices have significantly increased what it costs insurers to cover total losses.

Allstate warned investors earlier this month that second-quarter results will show substantial losses insuring cars. The company’s stock has fallen 20% since hitting a 52-week high April 20.

Still, Allstate’s rate hikes in Illinois have been steeper than elsewhere in the country. Through July 20, Allstate said, it had boosted auto rates by 8.3% on average nationwide. Illinois’ 12% increase in February well exceeded that. It remains to be seen whether drivers in other states will suffer increases near this 16% hike.

Allstate spokespeople didn’t respond to a request for comment.

Illinois has one of the most insurer-friendly regulatory regimes in the country. The state has virtually no authority over rates, and insurers merely have to file with the Department of

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