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PIA of Ohio Protests Insurance Ads in Vehicle Registration Renewals

PIA of Ohio is speaking out on behalf of independent insurance agents and consumers in the state by objecting to auto insurance advertisements being included...
February 1, 2006

PIA of Ohio is speaking out on behalf of independent insurance agents and consumers in the state by objecting to auto insurance advertisements being included by the state in auto registration renewal notices. PIA of Ohio objected to the practice in a letter to Gov. Bob Taft (R) and asked him to halt it immediately. 

Last summer, the state of Ohio entered into an agreement with Waltham, Mass.-based marketing firm Imagitas, which took over the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles' job of mailing out 2.2 million annual renewals. Ohio drivers who received their vehicle registration renewal through the mail also found a folded advertisement for Allstate auto insurance in the envelope.

"PIA believes that it is highly inappropriate and objectionable for any communication generated by state government to contain advertisements for an individual auto insurance carrier," said PIA of Ohio President Tom Wagner in a letter to Taft. "Our concern is heightened by the fact that this advertisement is being included with a vehicle registration renewal notice, which requires drivers to certify that they will carry insurance coverage or other minimum financial responsibility."

PIA of Ohio's objection to Gov. Taft was covered in an article that appeared in the January 26, 2006 edition of the Cleveland Plain-Dealer. In the article, PIA of Ohio Executive Vice President George Haenszel remarked, "This doesn't pass the smell test. This is poor judgment, the way they are going about this." Taft spokesman Mark Rickel said the governor shares the concerns of insurers, which he will share with the bureau.  "Specifically he questions the wisdom of including ads for car insurance in state car registration materials," Rickel said. All companies should have an opportunity to bid for ads, he said.

Group Calls on Taft to Stop Ads With Auto Renewals (Cleveland Plain Dealer 1/26/06)