Consumers of auto and homeowners insurance are vulnerable to the same potential conflicts of interest as commercial insurance buyers, according to a report recently released by the Consumer Federation of America (CFA), Washington, D.C.Using data from Best's Aggregates and Averages, 2004 Edition, total commissions paid to agents and brokers in 2003 for home and auto insurance ranged from zero to 30% of premium, the CFA reports. Overall, commission income was made up of roughly 90% regular commissions and 10% contingency commissions-the kind criticized by N.Y. Attorney General Eliot Spitzer.

Steering commissions-paid to agents for placing more business with an insurer-and profitability-based commissions are the two contingent-fee categories singled out as most troubling by the CFA.

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