Two or three weeks ago, The Rangeley Highlander, and this regular columnist, got word about the good work of a longtime Loon Lake summer resident, Bob Hunter that, you will soon notice, will save each of us more than a few dollars on our next automobile insurance premium!  Are you curious now?  Read on…

First, a bit of background on this professional actuary whose recent decades have been devoted to the American consumer’s well-being.  Mr. Hunter first became familiar with the Rangeley Region when he was a young camper at Camp Mitigwa on Dodge Pond.

The summer camp has long since disappeared, but this camper stayed close to the region by purchasing a summer home on Loon Lake about 25 years ago.  He and his wife have come to that lovely pond each summer from their home in the Washington, D.C. area since then.

A phone call was in order, given the above mentioned “heads-up”.  I made that call and found Mr. Hunter to be a very likeable and skilled professional, much like most of our summer “second-home” residents.  In recent years, he has worked at the Consumer Federation of America (CFA) in downtown D.C., on a street that is as close as they can get to the White House and the Capitol/Senate and House Office Buildings, to keep tabs on our best interests as consumers.

Bob’s title at the CFA is Director of Insurance.  An important position, and he is clearly good at the job.  What is most interesting about his recent money-saving action with automobile insurers is that the idea came to him in the dead of night (3 a.m.) on March 17th…early in our national and state lockdowns and working at home/sheltering in place as part of his Covid-19 responses.

His mind is usually on all things insurance-related (when he isn’t thinking about his next trip to Rangeley).  He awoke to the thought that he had better get off a convincing letter right away to each of the state insurance commissioners in all 50 states.  I have read that letter and it is a good one.  In essence, he said that they had better get after the insurance rates that had been set, as usual, on the calculated driving miles of personal vehicles….and re-set them.

Well, the insurance commissioners took their good old time getting after this issue.  That is until a CFA press release went out in April showing the insurance companies grades (A thru F scale) in terms of their response in the form of consumer rebates related to the company’s savings since mid-March as a result of miles driven by commuters.

Robert Hunter

Our summer Loon Lake resident was quoted in a later CFA press release in May: “AllState and USAA continue to provide premium relief to current customers in a timely fashion in amounts we hope reflect their actual reduction in claims” said J. Robert Hunter, CFA’s Director of Insurance and former Texas Insurance Commissioner.  “These insurers are providing relief to policyholders when they need it, and we applaud their industry leadership”.

Bob did state to me that the insurers would have probably gotten around to doing right by their policy holders in due time,  but his letter to the state insurance commissioners, and especially the follow-up press releases got them to respond quicker, and with more transparency.

I suggest you check out the Consumer Federation of America’s website and scroll down to the bottom of the home page and click on “insurance”.  Among other things, you will find Bob’s original letter to all 50 state insurance commissioners, CFA’s rating of all the major automobile insurers and other fascinating accounts of the work that CFA is doing in our interest, the American consumer.

Also, you will find all the other areas that Bob and the CFA are keeping tabs on.  And be sure to click on “About CFA” then “Staff” and scroll down until you find Bob Hunter’s picture.  Then click on “Bio” and you will find a wealth of experience attributed to Bob,… another fine summer resident who counts on the Rangeley Region to recharge his considerable consumer protection batteries before heading back to Washington D.C. in the Fall to take his place once again in “our corner” as he and his colleagues protect our interests as American consumers.

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