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You can bring a legal action or intervene in all insurance matters before the California Department of Insurance and the court.

You can challenge an insurance company's rates for excessive, inadequate, unfairly discriminatory or otherwise in violation of other provisions of the insurance laws.

Proposition 103 bestowed upon the public the right to challenge the rates or practices of an insurance company or the Insurance Commissioner in a court of law or before the California Department of Insurance. It also made all state laws apply to the insurance industry for the first time.

WARNING: Insurance rate hearings are extremely lengthy, complex and technical. They require the use of attorneys, actuaries, economists and other experts. WE ADVISE CITIZEN NOT TO MAKE SUCH CHALLENGES UNLESS YOU HAVE ADEQUATE FINANCIAL RESOURCES. FTCR and several other non-profit organizations often intervene on behalf of the public. If you think a company's rates are improper or that the company is otherwise in violation of the law and believe that there is a basis for challenging them, send us an email with that information at: ftcr@consumerwatchdog.org

Text of Proposition 103:

Consumer Participation
1861.10. (a) Any person may initiate or intervene in any proceeding permitted or established pursuant to this chapter, challenge any action of the commissioner under this article, and enforce any provision of this article.

(b) The commissioner or a court shall award reasonable advocacy and witness fees and expenses to any person who demonstrates that (1) the person represents the interests of consumers, and, (2) that he or she has made a substantial contribution to the adoption of any order, regulation or decision by the commissioner or a court. Where such advocacy occurs in response to a rate application, the award shall be paid by the applicant.

See the discussion of the prior approval process ("lower rates") for a description of the rate regulation system under Proposition 103.

Also, read the discussion of §1861.03(a), which applies all state laws to the insurance industry:
Prohibition on Unfair Insurance Practices:
1861.03 (a) The business of insurance shall be subject to the laws of California applicable to any other business, including, but not limited to, the Unruh Civil Rights Act (Civil Code Sections 51 through 53), and the antitrust and unfair business practices laws (Parts 2 and 3, commencing with section 16600 of Division 7, of the Business and Professions Code).

Also see the discussion of §1861.10, which allows reimbursement of attorneys fees and expenses in certain circumstances.

Law as subsequently amended by legislature (changes from voter approved law in bold):

NONE.

Status of Provision:

In effect. Both the California Department of Insurance and the courts have awarded attorneys fees and legal expenses to FTCR and other organizations for their work defending Proposition 103 against legal attacks by the insurance industry, for legal work implementing and enforcing the initiative, and for challenges to rate increase requests.

Source Documents:

Read a factsheet describing the broad right of the public to participate in the regulatory process and to challenge in court the conduct of an insurance company.

Relevant Legal Materials:

NONE.

Other:

The insurance industry has sought to prevent public scrutiny of their rates and practices by attacking FTCR and other consumer watchdog groups for receiving attorneys fees for their work.

Read a typical attack and FTCR's response, including a fact sheet discussing the intervenor program.