New Jersey’s Citizens United Reciprocal Exchange (CURE) Auto insurance is a company in the business of providing auto insurance coverage to consumers at a fair price. The company, based in Princeton, New Jersey, has been in the business since 1990 and employs a not-for-profit business model.
CURE provides automotive insurance which includes the following: bodily injury liability, property damage liability, personal injury protection, and coverage for accidents involving uninsured and underinsured motorists, as well as collision and non-collision coverage.
A Different Kind of Insurance Company
Founder Dr. Lena Chang and co-Founder James J. Sheeran lead the executive management team for CURE. According to the CURE website, the company was founded in in response to auto insurers reluctance to write new auto insurance policies due to low profit margins and legislative constrains.
The company was organized by Reciprocal Management Corporation as what is known as a reciprocal exchange, a type of insurance company consisting of an unincorporated group that pools risk and retains the cost of loss incurred by its subscribers.
CURE has an A-plus rating from the Better Business Bureau of New Jersey (BBB). This rating is based on several factors including the length of time the company has been doing business, which is nearly 25 years. Other factors that warrant a high rating for NJ CURE include the complaint volume against the company filed with the BBB, handling and disposition of complaints and the existence of sufficient business background information.
The company prides itself with being able to offer insurance products and services regardless of the income status of their customers. The company does not engage in the practice of using credit checks as a risk criteria when determining premium rates for motorists looking for auto insurance coverage. CURE also does not consider occupation, education level, or home ownership in calculating rates, factors most other insurers use.
Limited Coverage Area and Shortcomings?
The solutions that CURE provides for motorists are limited to those drivers located in New Jersey and Pennsylvania only. There is no information available as to whether the company is looking to expand its product offerings to additional states in the foreseeable future. The company’s recent TV commercial has brought it some added attention:
Additionally, according to the BBB, the company received seven customer complaints within the past three years, three of which were received in the last 12 months. The complaints received against the company were in the area of advertising and sales, billing and collection and problems with a product or service offering. Although under no requirement to file, the company is no accredited by the BBB.
The company also entered into a Consent Order with the State of New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance on January 5, 2011 and paid a fine of $26,000. The Consent Order and fine related to market conduct practices uncovered during a 2008 examination including a high error ratio relative to new and renewal business, failure to properly maintain its company complaint log and other general business practices.
In the insurance world where profits are king and companies discriminate and penalize those considered ‘high risk’, it’s refreshing to see CURE’s approach. It will be interesting to see how CURE evolves as it expands and reaches new customers.