Insurance

Insurance

For 30 years, Consumer Watchdog has been the nation's leading insurance reform organization. We have saved consumers billions of dollars, developed innovative consumer programs and reversed some of the most anti-consumer insurance policies in the industry.

In 1988, Californians revolted against excessive auto, homeowner and business insurance premiums and passed Proposition 103, a ballot measure written by Consumer Watchdog founder Harvey Rosenfield to rein in insurance companies. Using the provisions of Prop 103, Consumer Watchdog has challenged rate hikes and lowered insurance rates by billions of dollars. The insurance reform has saved Californians over $100 billion over the last thirty years according to the Consumer Federation of America. California is the only state where auto insurance rates have gone down in real dollars over the last three decades. It's also the only state to ban ZIP-code based auto insurance, which Proposition 103 also did.

Today, Consumer Watchdog's legal team and advocates scrutinize all major rate hike proposals made by auto and home insurers in California and play an integral role in many of the regulatory actions enacted by the California Department of Insurance.

We use our experience to show how regulation can work to save consumers and spur competition, as California has the most robust auto insurance market in America.

 

Focus Areas:

California Insurance Commissioner’s Wildfire Working Group Embraces Insurance Industry Wish List at Expense of Consumers and Taxpayers

Los Angeles, CA -- A group convened by Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara to investigate insurance-related climate change solutions is recommending he let insurance companies insert secret models into ratemaking, a top deregulatory priority of the industry in California.  
 

California Moves to Curb Discriminatory Auto Insurance Pricing Using Job and Education Level That Charges Lower-Income, Non-White Drivers More

Sacramento, CA – Insurance companies’ illegal use of job and education level to price auto insurance discriminates against lower income drivers and communities of color and must end, Consumer Watchdog will testify at a California Department of Insurance workshop this afternoon.

Supreme Court Confirms Right to Sue Insurance Companies for Overcharges

Decision Rebuffs Industry Arguments Against Proposition 103 Enforcement Rights

Los Angeles, CA -- In a decision that will likely affect California motorists, homeowners, small businesses and even medical providers, the California Supreme Court has ruled that insurance companies are not immune from lawsuits by consumers who were overcharged for title insurance coverage as part of a home refinance or sale. 

California Moves to Curtail Job and Education-Based Auto Insurance Discrimination

Sacramento, CA -- Draft regulations released by the Department of Insurance Thursday move California one step closer to stopping auto insurance discrimination that has allowed insurers to overcharge lower income and minority drivers for decades, said Consumer Watchdog. The rules follow a petition submitted by Consumer Watchdog and ten civil rights and community groups to ban the use of job and education level in auto insurance rating.

KGO ABC TV-7 San Francisco, CA: 'Catastrophic Model' Could Be Used To Set Your Fire Insurance Rates

Insurance Companies Created Home Insurance Crisis, Consumer Watchdog Testifies at Department of Insurance Wildfire Hearing

Los Angeles, CA -- The insurance industry is exploiting California wildfires for its own financial advantage by arbitrarily refusing to sell or renew homeowners’ insurance coverage, even when people improve the fire safety of their property, Consumer Watchdog testified today at a virtual hearing convened by California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara.

Wildfire Recovery: Insurance Tips for California Homeowners

 

With 33 active fires and 3.6 million acres burned, including the largest in California history, tens of thousands of Californians have been displaced by the ongoing wildfires. They will need help getting back on their feet when they are finally able to return home.

On today’s Rage for Justice Report podcast, I interviewed Amy Bach, the executive director of the nonprofit United Policyholders. Her website is California’s – and perhaps the country’s – best resource for detailed how-to guides on what to do when disaster strikes.

Insurers Fail To Rip-off Homeowners

The legislative session is over. I am happy to report that the bad guys didn’t win.

Insurance companies were not able to pass legislation in Sacramento allowing them to raise rates on homeowners in fire zones in violation of strict premium regulation created by voter-approved Prop 103. Thanks to your support, the State Senate refused to pass a dangerous insurance industry-backed bill by Assembly member Tom Daly.

Insurance Commissioner to Investigate Key Wildfire Insurance Issues Under Legislation Headed to Senate Floor

Sacramento, CA -- California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara would investigate and develop solutions to ensure affordable, accessible insurance for homeowners in wildfire areas and report back to the legislature, under amendments to AB 2167 adopted by the Senate Appropriations Committee yesterday. The bill asks the Commissioner to study the models insurance companies use to set home and renters insurance rates, strategies to address problems in the insurance markets, and the price and pass-through of “reinsurance” expenses. The bill now heads for a vote by the full Senate.

California State Legislators Use Coronavirus As An Excuse To Hijack Democratic Process

The following was originally published as an op-ed commentary in the SACRAMENTO BEE on August 11, 2020: https://www.sacbee.com/opinion/article244870462.html

Three democratic procedures safeguard Californians against hasty and dangerous actions by the California State Legislature:

▪ Every bill gets a legislative hearing.

▪ Committee staff provides an impartial analysis of each bill.

▪ Members of the public are heard. 

National Insurance Expert Warns CA Bill to Deregulate Homeowner Insurance Will Hike Rates 40% In First Year; Senate Vote Tomorrow

Los Angeles, CA -- A national insurance expert and actuary has warned California lawmakers that AB 2167, scheduled for a vote in the Senate Insurance Committee on Tuesday, would raise homeowners’ insurance rates by 40% in the first year it takes effect and make it harder for Californians to find coverage.

Legislators Scheming With Insurance Companies To Raise Rates

(The following was originally published as an op-ed commentary in the Mercury News.)

With Californians in COVID lockdown, industry lobbyists are working to overturn voter-approved consumer protections

August 2, 2020

State lawmakers are preparing a gift for you: a massive increase in the premiums you pay to insure your home and property.

Insurance Industry Gives CA Senators $2.35 Million To Win Right To Raise Homeowners' Rates

Sacramento, CA – Members of the California State Senate have taken $2,353,000 in campaign contributions from insurance companies and insurance industry trade associations in the last two election cycles, according to data reported to the California Secretary of State. Of that total, $1.1 million was given to the thirteen Senators who sit on the Insurance Committee that will soon vote on the insurance industry’s top priority in Sacramento this year.

Sneak Insurance Industry Power Play In Sacramento Threatens To Jack Up Home Insurance Rates In Violation of Voter-Enacted Insurance Rate Regulation

Los Angeles, CA – Consumer Watchdog warned today that homeowners could pay billions more for their home insurance under a sneak insurance industry legislative attack on California’s effective rate regulation under the cover of the corona virus and police abuse crises.

Assembly Insurance Committee Approves Bills to Let Insurers Raise Homeowners' Rates By Skirting Price-Gouging Protections

Sacramento, CA –  The Assembly Insurance Committee voted today to allow insurance companies to raise rates on homeowners and renters in violation of voter-approved Proposition 103.  The bills would force unjustified insurance rate hikes onhomeowners in the very communities devastated by wildfires that they purport to help, said Consumer Watchdog.

Insurance Industry Pushes Legislation to Increase Homeowners Insurance Rates, Derail Public Protections Against Price Gouging, in Guise of Wildfire Response

Los Angeles, CA — While the rest of the state is sheltering at home, lobbyists for the insurance industry are busy promoting legislation, scheduled for a hearing tomorrow, that would allow them to boost insurance rates on homeowners and renters.