Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones Announces $63.8 Million In Consumer Dollars Recovered By Department In 2010
News: 2011 Press Release
California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones today announced the California Department of Insurance (CDI) has recovered $63.8 million for consumers through consumer complaint investigations and market conduct examinations of insurance companies.
"Our goal at the Department of Insurance is to be the best consumer protection agency in the nation," Commissioner Jones said. "I'm proud to announce that our hard work has led to us recovering more than $63 million for consumers for calendar year 2010. 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 200,000 calls. $52,356,121 was recovered from complaint investigations in 2010.
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. $565,000 in penalties was recovered in 2010 and those penalties go to the State's General Fund.
Through the diligence of the Market Conduct Division, $10,970,429 million was recovered and 207 exams were adopted by the Commissioner.
The California Department of Insurance, established in 1868, is the largest consumer protection agency in California. Insurers collect $289 billion in premiums annually in California. Since 2011 the California Department of Insurance received more than 1,000,000 calls from consumers and helped recover over $394 million in claims and premiums. Please visit the Department of Insurance web site at www.insurance.ca.gov. Non-media inquiries should be directed to the Consumer Hotline at 800.927.HELP or 213.897.8921. Telecommunications Devices for the Deaf (TDD), please dial 800.482.4833.