By Lyle Adriano, INSURANCE BUSINESS AMERICA

July 8, 2020

https://www.insurancebusinessmag.com/us/news/breaking-news/consumer-adv…

Consumer Watchdog has warned that members of the California State Senate have taken $2,353,000 in campaign contributions from both insurance companies and insurance industry trade associations in the last two election cycles.

Citing data from the California Secretary of State, the non-profit consumer advocate said that of the $2,353,000 total, $1.1 million was given to the 13 Senators who sit on the Insurance Committee - the committee that will decide on important insurance-related legislation this year.

The non-profit organization explained in a statement that the proposed insurance bill it is most worried about is AB 2167. The bill would allow homeowners’ insurance companies to increase their rates as high as they choose, by exempting them from the protections of California’s rate regulation law, Proposition 103. In addition, there is nothing in AB 2167 that requires insurers to sell or renew insurance in communities the companies claim are “wildfire risks” at a fair price, Consumer Watchdog said.

“California homeowners have been ravaged by wildfires, insurance claims abuses and outright refusals to sell them insurance. Now the insurance industry is throwing its weight around to win the right to raise rates at will,” said Consumer Watchdog executive director Carmen Balber. “Will the Senate reject the insurance industry’s influence peddling to stop this power grab that will gut consumer protections and cost homeowners billions?”

Citing data from the Secretary of State, Consumer Watchdog added that P&C insurers have given $32.5 million to candidates for the Legislature and statewide office, and have spent another $34 million on ballot measures.