The Western Washington Taxi Cab Operator’s Association (WWTCOA) is seeking monetary damages for unlawful actions committed by two insurance brokers.

The complaint, filed in King County Superior Court on Monday, alleges that representatives of Key Insurance and Top Notch Solutions stifled competition, artificially inflated prices, coerced members, and engaged in deceptive practices in an effort to maintain their domination over the insurance industry for taxis.

Representatives of Key Insurance are accused of hiking up insurance rates for taxi operators and then giving them only three days to renew their insurance.  When WWTCOA members attempted to find another broker, they learned that Key Insurance was spreading misinformation to other agents about taxis to discourage competition. 

“Key Insurance gave us a lot of trouble,” said Satpal Puriwal, a WWTCOA member with Yellow Cab.  “We had obtained more competitive rates through another provider, but representatives of Key Insurance called the underwriter and gave them false information and then they cancelled our insurance.”

Subsequent efforts by taxi operators to transfer their insurance resulted in the defendants withholding information and similarly spreading false information about the taxi association and other insurance providers.

According to the complaint, the actions taken by the defendants constitute violations of Washington’s Consumer Protection Act.