Commissioner King: Practice Safety While Using Home Heating Equipment

Announcements, Community

ATLANTA – With the recent cold weather across the majority of Georgia, Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner John F. King is encouraging Georgians to remain vigilant while using home heating equipment. Heating equipment like space heaters and fireplaces can become fire hazards when used improperly.

Heating equipment is a leading cause of home fires in the United States. Data from the National Fire Prevention Association shows that local fire departments responded to an annual average of 48,530 fires resulting from negligent heater use between 2014 and 2018. These fires resulted in 500 deaths, 1,350 injuries, and $1.1 billion in property damage.

In recognition of the risk of heating equipment, Commissioner King encourages Georgians to follow the below tips for keeping your family and home safe this winter:

  • Have your fireplace or wood stove chimney and chimney connectors inspected and cleaned at the start of the heating season. Failure to clean equipment is the leading factor contributing to home fires.
  • Avoid plugging heating equipment into extension cords. This can lead to overheating of the cord, damage to the appliance, and increased risk of fire or electric shock
  • Move anything that can burn (i.e., furniture, bedding, clothing) at least three feet (one meter) away from your heater, fireplace, or wood stove. 54% of home heating fire deaths were caused by having heating equipment too close to flammable objects.
  • Keep your children and pets safely away from your portable or space heater.
  • Turn off your portable or space heater before exiting the room or going to bed.
  • Never use your oven to heat your home.

CONSUMER ALERT: Allstate Files Substantial Auto Rate Increase

Announcements, Press Release

ATLANTA – Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner John F. King today is alerting consumers that Allstate Property & Casualty Company has filed an overall statewide automobile rate increase of 25 percent on their Georgia policyholders.

“I am angry and disappointed that Allstate has chosen to exploit a loophole in state law to implement such a substantial increase in costs on hardworking Georgians when families are already struggling with historic inflation everywhere from the gas pump to the grocery store,” said Commissioner King. “This latest increase means Allstate has now bypassed our office to raise overall rates in Georgia by 40% in this calendar year alone. In response, I have begun conversations with our legislative leaders regarding changes to state law to give our office additional authorities to protect consumers from these types of inexcusable actions.”

Under Georgia’s dual rate filing system governing automobile insurance rates established in Georgia state law, the Insurance Commissioner only has the authority to approve or disapprove minimum limits policy filings, while all other filings can go into effect immediately under what is known as “file and use.” The latest rate increase filed by Allstate falls into the latter category.

This rate increase will go into effect for new Allstate customers on September 12, while current customers will see the increase on their renewals beginning October 16.

The Office of Commissioner of Insurance encourages Georgia policyholders to reach out to Allstate to discuss the reasons for the increase and the options available to them. Allstate can be reached by telephone at 1-800- 255-7828, online at, or on Twitter at @allstate.

The mission of the Office Commissioner of Insurance and Safety Fire is to protect Georgia families by providing access to vital insurance products and safe buildings through fair regulation that creates economic opportunities for all Georgians.

Whitfield County man charged with insurance fraud and forgery

Featured, Featured Stories

ATLANTA – On July 15, Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner John F. King’s Criminal Investigations Division took out warrants on Joseph Nathaniel Harry, 25, of Rocky Face, for four counts of Insurance Fraud and
two counts of Forgery in the 1st Degree.

In the first case, Harry allegedly submitted multiple fraudulent property damage and theft insurance claims with the
intent of gaining an insurance payout. During the claims process, Harry provided forged documents, eventually
receiving over $17,000 in fraudulent claim payouts.

In the second case, Harry allegedly submitted a false claim for Pet Insurance, again providing forged documents.
Insurance fraud is a felony punishable by imprisonment for two to 10 years, or by a fine of up to $10,000.00, or
both. To report suspected insurance fraud, contact the Georgia Department of Insurance at 800-656-2298. Callers
can choose to remain anonymous.

The mission of the Office of the Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner is to protect Georgia families
by providing access to vital insurance products and safe buildings through fair regulation
that creates economic opportunities for all Georgians.

In other news, earlier this week a multistate high-speed chase went through Whitfield.

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