May 1, 2007, - 10:43 am

Happy May Day: First, Bank of America, NOW, Auto Insurers Help UNLICENSED Illegal Aliens

Can you get auto insurance without a driver’s license? Probably not. BUT ILLEGAL ALIENS NOW CAN.
Earlier this year, we all read the Wall Street Journal story about how Bank of America is targeting illegal aliens to expand its customer base. The company is giving credit cards to illegal aliens without a social security number–something you or I cannot get.
Well, now, it’s auto insurers. Today’s Wall Street Journal has a front-pager on Progressive Corp, Alliance United, Bristol West Holdings, and other auto insurers who are making a pretty penny insuring illegal aliens–even those WITHOUT driver’s licenses.

It’s just more of what Vladimir Lenin described when he said that the capitalists will “sell us the rope on which we will hang them.”
“We are exploding with growth,” proclaims Brian Duffy, chief executive of Alliance United, a Ventura, California auto insurer. Sure, it’s unfortunately legal to insure unlicensed drivers. But it is unethical. And unsafe, to boot.
Forget about fake driver’s licenses. Now, they don’t even need those for auto insurance. More:

Many states are cracking down on illegal immigrants by denying them driver’s licenses. But auto insurers are increasingly targeting those unlicensed drivers as a lucrative market.
For decades, many states with big immigrant populations, like California, routinely issued driver’s licenses to foreign citizens, regardless of their immigration status. But when those states and others began tightening up their requirements amid a backlash against illegal immigration, many illegal immigrants couldn’t renew their licenses — and their car insurance was automatically canceled.
Some auto insurers, however, were quick to see a golden opportunity. California law, for example, doesn’t bar companies from selling insurance to unlicensed motorists. So, insurers, including some major ones like Progressive Corp., are covering illegal-immigrant drivers, often charging them premiums above the normal market rate.
“When we figured out it was legal, and we weren’t going to get punished, we went into the market within a short while,” says Brian Duffy, chief executive of Alliance United, a closely held auto insurer based in Ventura, Calif. “We are exploding with growth.”

The situation is another example of how illegal immigration and the purchasing power of the nation’s estimated 12 million illegal immigrants are influencing public and private policy in sometimes contradictory ways. While some politicians and others complain that illegal immigrants place a burden on state and local resources, businesses ranging from banks to retailers are lining up to cater to them. . . .
Though driving without a valid license is illegal, it often goes unpunished if the driver’s car registration and insurance papers are in order.
Amid the national debate over immigration and security in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, a growing number of states started requiring applicants for driver’s licenses to show proof of lawful residence. States with large illegal-immigrant populations like Texas, California and Arizona don’t issue driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants. In 2005, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, citing security concerns, vetoed for the second time a measure passed by the state’s lawmakers to explicitly allow undocumented immigrants to obtain a driver’s license.
In Illinois, legislators are considering allowing people without Social Security numbers to obtain a driver’s certificate, a proposal that has polarized the state.
With the states getting more restrictive, some auto insurers have adopted new strategies. Realizing that many workers without licenses drive anyway, several auto insurers began allowing undocumented immigrants to acquire a policy on the strength of a foreign driver’s license — or even a foreign identification card.
Jeff Dailey, chief executive of publicly held insurer Bristol West Holdings Inc., which specializes in nonstandard, high-risk insurance, says that the “foreign driver” segment has proved to be “good business for us,” and has attracted multiple competitors. Mr. Dailey says sales agents for his company, which agreed last month to be acquired by Farmers Group Inc., accept a Mexican matricula consular card — an I.D. issued by the Mexican Consulate — from immigrants who don’t have a foreign driver’s license. . . .
Auto insurance is regulated by individual states, and most don’t require insurers to limit coverage to people with driver’s licenses. “We want everyone driving to have liability,” says a spokesman for the Texas Department of Insurance.
The practice of writing auto insurance for unlicensed drivers started with insurers like Alliance United, a small company focused mainly on nonstandard markets, like drivers with bad driving records. But larger insurers, such as Progressive and Infinity Property & Casualty Corp., which also write policies for high-risk drivers, are active in the business. Large mainstream insurance companies like State Farm Insurance Co., Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co. and AAA typically require a state driver’s license.
“We want to insure all drivers who want to be insured; if the regulations in a state allow us to accept drivers with foreign driver’s licenses, we price those policies accurately and as the regulation allows and make a policy available to those drivers,” says Russina Sgoureva, product manager for Progressive’s agency business in California.
Calls to senior executives at Infinity, including President James R. Gober, weren’t returned.
Jose Catano, an independent agent in Southern California, runs Spanish-language radio spots to drum up business with illegal immigrants, using a slogan referring to Gov. Schwarzenegger: “Arnold won’t give you a license, but Catano will give you insurance.”
What makes illegal immigrants a particularly profitable market, he says, is that they rarely report small accidents — to avoid contact with U.S. authorities. “It’s very lucrative,” he adds. “We have good retention.” Earlier this month, Mr. Catano received approval to operate in Nevada and Arizona, both of which deny licenses to illegal immigrants.
One of Mr. Catano’s clients is Jose Rodriguez, a 32-year-old illegal immigrant from Mexico who drives a 2007 Honda Civic and pays $127 a month for insurance. “I feel much safer driving, knowing that I have insurance,” he says. “All my friends without papers are getting it.”
In his car, Mr. Rodriguez carries his auto registration and proof of insurance. On him, he carries a matricula consular card instead of a driver’s license.
“We are the DMV; we’re not ICE [Immigration and Customs Enforcement],” says a spokesman for the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles. “It’s not our issue if you are in the country illegally. By law, you have to have insurance if you have a car.”

Nauseating. Who is this unnamed spokesman? Why didn’t Wall Street Journal reporter Miriam Jordan report this unpatriotic idiot’s name? E-mail and ask her.
This is just another example of how immigration “enforcement” is a joke. If enforcement were as tough as it should be, these illegal aliens wouldn’t be bragging–using their real names and locations–to the Wall Street Journal. They would be hiding in fear. Or even better, leaving in droves from the country, since they are violating the law by just being here.

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10 Responses

I am the “unnamed spokesman” quoted in Jordan’s WSJ piece. As a career soldier and a veteran of two wars, I have to admit this is the first time I’ve been called “unpatriotic.” I have been called an idiot more than once, though.
If you would have read the piece a little more critically, you might have noticed that my quote really just hangs there at the end and doesn’t add much to the story. That’s because it’s a chopped up version of what I said. What I said is this:
“Nevada is not a legal presense state, meaning you don’t have to prove you’re in the country legally to get a license. We’re the DMV, not ICE. It’s not our issue if you’re in the country legally. What is our issue is whether you can prove who you are. That said, Nevada’s identity standards are so strict, it’s virtually impossible for someone in this country illegally to get a Nevada license.”
The comment about Nevada law requiring registered vehicles be insured came later in the conversation.
Should you get over your nausea and have any questions about intelligence, patriotism or the laws governing the issuance of a driver’s license in Nevada, please don’t hesitate to contact me.
–Tom Jacobs
Lead Public Information Officer
Nevada Dept. of Motor Vehicles

Tjacobs on May 1, 2007 at 12:11 pm

Our political leaders have sold the American worker down the tubes. This is tyranny pure and simple.
Government employees that allow this to happen are committing treason.The argument that they are not ICE and just doing their job is ridiculous. They are looking the other way and they know it.
The are aiding and abetting illegal immigration which is a felony under current federal law.
The Bush administration is now allowing Mexican Truck drivers into the USA and this will put 50,000 Americans our of work for the cheap Mexican labor that will replace them.
It is time for all Americans to realize that our leaders are all traitors.

ScottyDog on May 1, 2007 at 12:19 pm

Tom Jacobs
I used to work in Nevada in Law Enforcement. Your contention that your identity standards are very strict is a joke.
The fact of the matter is Law Enforcement officers are not allowed to call ICE in Nevada. If you do you will be your sergeants office in a New York minute and get your butt chewed for having the temerity for taking your oath of office seriously.
The Casino industry in Nevada is the biggest employer of Illegals in Nevada and they have so much influence that Law Enforcement is prevented from doing its job.
Sir, I do question your patriotism. When you refuse to enforce the law you are committing several crimes.
Ever hear of malfeasance of office? A Felony.
Aiding and abetting Illegal Immigration? A Felony
It will never happen in Nevada but I wish some District attorney had the guts to file charges against you. You are an embarrassment to the rule of law.

ScottyDog on May 1, 2007 at 12:37 pm

One of the arguments often heard for giving licenses to illegals is that they can be then insured. I checked with insurance agents early in the debate to find out if international driver’s licenses would suffice and was told they would. I have contacted many reporters but none have chosen to include it in their coverage of the issue. Now it seems that not even an international license is required.
I have a different view of this issue. While giving licenses, even differentiated ones, implicitly sanctions their illegal presence, illegals getting insured doesn’t sound bad to me. Would you prefer they drive uninsured to being insured, all other things being equal?
What I find disgusting about the companies is not that they offer insurance. It’s that they extract economic rents from insuring illegals. “It’s very lucrative” was how it was described. Making excess profits on illegal immigration turn my stomach. Prices ought to reflect the cost of insuring this population.
I think its important decide what is most objectionable by identifying those things that are the most significant in encouraging and enabling illegal immigration. So I object to credit cards, home mortgages, and the general political advocacy by many business organizations against the enforcement of our immigration laws. And the most important factor in the problem of illegal immigration is hiring illegals. Business has opposed sensible measures to stop the practice.
We should raise taxes on business by billions a year and keep doubling it until they decide that they stop backing organizations like the Chamber of Commerce that seeks to have the government ignore what the citizens of this country want. They are free to try to convince the people of their position but their influence on our government smacks of corruption. Business only cares about money and aligning consequences with what we want will change their behavior pronto.
By the way I feel the same about the media. I’d like to make them pay for their propaganda machines if there was a way to do it.

riposter on May 1, 2007 at 2:02 pm

Since the illegals getting insurance do not have valid drivers licenses, just how do the Insurance Companies base the rates on their driving record?
BTW-For the record, if they have an international drivers license or a drivers license in their home country they can purchase auto insurance in the home country.
“Would you prefer they drive uninsured to being insured, all other things being equal?”
Instead of the false choices offered by your question, How about when it is discovered that they are here illegally they are immediately deported like we used to do in the 1960’s.
In addition, I think all of their assets should be seized whether it be autos or homes they obtained using identity theft under false pretenses. Until they are penalized for their behavior they will continue to exploit our system.
I think businesses that hire illegals should be prosecuted criminally and the CEO’s thrown in jail with long prison sentences. I would be ok with their stock options being forfeited along with their bloated salaries that are the result of the slave labor they decided to replace American Workers.
I agree with you about the Chamber of Commerce. I think they are a continuing criminal enterprise and should be prosecuted under the Rico statutes.
“By the way I feel the same about the media. I’d like to make them pay for their propaganda machines if there was a way to do it”
I think it is far past the time the MSM can use their pulpit for false reporting aka. propaganda. I think we need a truth in reporting law too, similar to the one in the UK. Reporting lies and outright false stories is not a 1st amendment right.

ScottyDog on May 1, 2007 at 3:29 pm

Mr. Jacobs-
Yes it is true that you are DMV not ICE. But I have to ask, when someone comes into Nevada and goes to the DMV to request a drivers license do they not have to provide proof of their residency within your state? I seem to recall in all the states I have lived in that I have not only had to provide documentation of not only my physical address but also photo identification. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to draw the logical conclusion that if someone presents a Matricula Consular card or passport issued by another country- that there needs to be documentation of that applicants assertion that they are entitled to the PRIVILEGE of a drivers license. And I would sincerely hope that if someone is attempting to register a vehicle that they hold a valid drivers license. Whenever I sign my name to an affidavit I am swearing to the truth. Why is someone in your position more concerned about bringing forth the wrath of the ACLU rather than protecting the health and security of the taxpayers of the state of Nevada (you remember- the people who actually pay your salary??).
When you grow a pair- let us know.
Mary Joyce.

MarySJ on May 1, 2007 at 3:39 pm

Hey, these insurers are just taking their cue from the government. Bush wants to sell citizenship rights to illegals…or at lease lease them on a renewable basis…Bank of Amerimexicana wants to steal from illegals too by providing them all high risk credit cards with lone shark rates, so why don’t insurance companies sell them auto policies that these people will never collect a claim on. A BRAVE NEW WORLD…or at least country. Help, Rome is burning!

chucker on May 1, 2007 at 4:04 pm

Scotty dog- Their underwriting ought to be based on their experience with the population, like all underwriting. So being deported is a choice I have? Beam me up to this world. I think deportations are fine, but the current publicity effort of raids by the Bush administration that is in the news is only getting at 20,000 a year of the ordered deportables while that population is growing at 3 times that. I’m fine with prosecuting employers but the government has to have an intention to enforce our immigration laws before it is even an issue. We don’t have such a government, as chucker has noted.

riposter on May 1, 2007 at 11:17 pm

Mr. Jacobs do you support the illegals marching in our streets? Did you by chance help hang our flag upside down beneath the mexican one? Ok ok but did you choose the flag pole? Maybe you should let El Presidente Felipe CalderÔø?n know of your patriotic acts towards his citizens and you might (cross our fingers) get an invite for a long stay in his country. Are you perhaps an cohort of Federal Prosecuter J. Sutton? He to has a thing for screwing over American’s and pleasing illegal’s.

seeker on May 3, 2007 at 8:56 pm

Mr. Jacobs do you support the illegals marching in our streets? Did you by chance help hang our flag upside down beneath the mexican one? Ok ok but did you choose the flag pole? Maybe you should let El Presidente Felipe Calderon know of your patriotic acts towards his citizens and you might (cross our fingers) get an invite for a long stay in his country. Are you perhaps an cohort of Federal Prosecuter J. Sutton? He to has a thing for screwing over American’s and pleasing illegal’s.

seeker on May 3, 2007 at 8:57 pm

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