INSURANCE: Smoke & Fire

In the U.S. some 35 million car owners carry $4 billion in auto-insurance policies to protect themselves against damage claims. Last week it seemed that some owners needed protection against the policies as well.

Months ago the Texas Board of Insurance Commissioners discovered that six auto-insurance firms were overcharging Texas policyholders by misclassifying them in the highest possible premium bracket.

Biggest offender: Service Fire of New York (subsidiary of C.I.T. Financial Corp., which also owns Universal C.I.T., the nation's No. 2 auto-finance company). Service Fire had put more than three-quarters of its...

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