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Calif. insurance commissioner orders investigation into Wells, National General

The California Department of Insurance will investigate claims that Wells Fargo & Co. and National General Insurance improperly charged customers for auto insurance.

Wells Fargo is already under a separate investigation from the same agency, in connection with allegations that it signed customers up for life insurance without due authorization.

Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones ordered the agency to also collaborate with other state insurance regulators that might be conducting their own probes of Wells Fargo and National General.

An internal review at Wells Fargo had revealed clients of Wells Fargo Dealer Services may have been charged premiums for collateral protection insurance, or CPI, even if they were already paying for their own auto insurance. It said it would refund those customers a total of $80 million and ended its CPI arrangement with a third-party vendor. The latter turned out to be National General.

The discovery of another problem soon after the bank's fake-accounts scandal has Wells Fargo facing calls for director resignations, a new lawsuit, discussions with the New York Department of Financial Services and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, and a possible Congressional hearing. The Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco is also investigating, but in connection with Wells Fargo's guaranteed auto protection insurance.