Travelers’ Deceptive Ad Pulled Out


200336153-001Auto insurance is a necessity. But if a person doesn’t have it, it doesn’t mean he or she can lose his or her house when the person gets into a crash because of being uninsured.

This was based on a commercial aired by Travelers Insurance. Its mother company, The Travel Companies Inc. was demanded by the Texas Attorney General to remove the said commercial as it is misleading.

Greg Abbott, the Texas Attorney General, together with the Texas Department of Insurance sent a cease-and-desist letter last week with a text that if Travels does not remove the ad, it would be fined for civil penalties of $20,000 per commercial airing. This is pursuant to the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act.

The commercial tells a story about a man driving his living room through a desert and then got into a crash. A voiceover says that without the proper auto insurance, there might be more impact than losing the car. It states that without insurance coverage, the uninsured person will be risking his house. The message was the driver may be sued and may end up having too much debt that he is forced to sell his house.

The Texas Watch, a consumer group from the same state, calls for the withdrawal of the ad. It is misleading and deceptive, says Alex Winslow, the Texas Watch executive director. It is shameful that the insurance company takes advantage of the consumers’ fear about losing their homes.

Texas Watch sent a letter to Greg Abbott and Texas Insurance Commissioner Mike Geeslin to take the commercial out of the Texan airwaves.

After the two reviewed the commercials, their views are the same. The advertisement was said to be misleading and it conflicts with the Texan homestead law which states that a home is protected from the losses exemplified in the commercial, says Abbott. It is not right to instill fear into Texans about losing their homes in the future because of not availing an insurance they might not need.

The cease-and-desist letter demands that aside from the television ads, other Texan media such as computer generated, multi-media, print and radio ads should be removed. Travelers sent a letter on July 8 addressed to the Office of the Attorney General. Kenneth F. Spence III, Travelers’ Executive Vice President and General Counsel indicated in the letter that the company has complied with the removal demands.

It would be recalled that Texas also called for the removal of a commercial with the same concept. In September 2005, Allstate was also sent a cease-and-desist letter due to a misleading ad about a family moving out of their house for not having sufficient auto-collision liability insurance. Allstate removed the advertisement.