Liberty Mutual Advertises Accident Forgiveness Program, But Local DA's Won't Forgive It
Civil complaint filed in Riverside County Superior Court by district attorneys from Los Angeles, Riverside, and San Diego counties alleging unfair competition by Liberty Mutual
October 24, 2016
Liberty Mutual Group agreed to pay a nearly million-dollar settlement regarding advertisements the insurance company aired for a car accident forgiveness program that is not available in California.
Yesterday a civil complaint was filed in Riverside County Superior Court by district attorneys from Los Angeles, Riverside, and San Diego counties alleging unfair competition by Liberty Mutual through the airing of the misleading advertisements. Since 2014, the Boston-based insurance company has promised California residents through television commercials that they can have accidents forgiven and avoid insurance rate increases even if they are responsible for an accident. In fact, California consumer protection laws prohibit accident forgiveness programs in this state.
Today, Liberty Mutual settled the claim by the three counties for $925,000 and no admission of liability. Liberty Mutual is now enjoined to comply fully with state law regarding accident forgiveness advertising, most notably disclosing noticeably that such programs are not available in California. In their advertisements in the past, such disclaimers were flashed on the screen in small type for less than four seconds. Liberty Mutual itself admits their advertisements have probably reached 70 to 80 percent of households in California.
"California consumers rightfully expect clear and accurate advertising about what is and is not contained in the automobile insurance policies offered to them," said Los Angeles District Attorney Lacey.
The $925,000 settlement is to be divided by the three counties involved in the complaint against Liberty Mutual.