• 2 more insurance companies bank on multiple rate hikes


    ATLANTA - If your car insurance bill seems higher, just wait. 

    Consumer investigator Jim Strickland has discovered two more big insurance companies are banking on multiple rate hikes.

    Strickland previously reported April and October increases for State Farm of 8 percent and 6 percent, respectively.  A second open records request contained news Progessive had implemented smaller hikes last November and again in May.  GEICO also has 4 percent increases booked  for April and this coming October.

    The three companies combine to write more than 40 percent of the state's auto insurance.

    "Every time I get the bill in my email, it's steady for six months and suddenly it jumps," said GEICO customer Cody Smith of Douglasville.

    "Whenever our bill goes up it has to pull from somewhere else in the budget."

    "They have not gotten what they requested," Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens told Strickland.

    Records show he cut Progressive's latest rate request by 25 percent.  GEICO's, he cut in half.

    "We have given them rate increases because we want to keep a competitive market here in Georgia," he said.

    Hudgens said denying rate increases outright will drive companies from the market, giving Georgians fewer choices and ultimately higher prices.

    "The more people you have competing for the consumers' business the better the consumer's going to be treated," he said.

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