In a press release from the California Department of Insurance (“CDI”) issued last week, Commissioner Steve Poizner announced that the CDI has recovered $112.1 million for consumers through consumer complaint investigations and market conduct examinations of insurance companies. Here is what it said:
The $112 million is believed to be the most money recovered in California Department of Insurance (CDI) history. In comparison, the Department recovered $62 million in 2008, $63 million in 2007, $78 million in 2006 and $53 million in 2005.
“Our goal at the Department of Insurance is to be the best consumer protection agency in the nation,” Commissioner Poizner said. “I’m proud to announce that our hard work has led to us recovering more than $100 million for consumers – the most ever under any insurance commissioner. Through our consumer complaint services and our market conduct exams, we will continue to be responsive to the needs of consumers and proactive in looking for any and all activities that hurt policyholders.”
The CDI’s Consumer Services and Market Conduct Branch has two divisions – one focused on helping consumers directly and the other focused on examinations of insurance company’s actions through an examination/audit process. The consumer services division operates the Consumer Communications Bureau, which handles the (800) 927-HELP consumer hotline; the Claims Services and Rating and Underwriting Services bureaus, which investigates and resolves complaints filed with the Department by consumers and others. The consumer hotline annually receives approximately 250,000 calls. The Consumer Services Division recovered $89.1 million in 2009. Approximately 20 percent of that came from closing cases started in 2007 and 2008 after the devastating wildfires. Due to the complexity of the issues that must be investigated, it may take a year or more to resolve complaints resulting from wildfire disasters.
The Market Conduct Division consists of the Field Claims Bureau and a Field Rating and Underwriting Bureau. These bureaus are tasked with performing examinations of insurance company claims, underwriting, rating and marketing practices to ensure they are complying with the law and regulations.
Through the diligence of the Market Conduct Division, $23 million was recovered and 208 exams were adopted by Commissioner Poizner.
You can access the CDI’s Communications Office Web page by clicking here.