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CA Department of Insurance

First 30 days of Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones’ second term defined by action

News: 2015 Press Release

For Release: February 10, 2015
Media Calls Only: 916-492-3566
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First 30 days of Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones’ second term defined by action
Increased consumer protections, busted large family auto fraud ring, issued emergency regulations
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - When he was sworn-in on January 5, 2015, Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones promised his second term, as was his first, would be defined by action on behalf of consumers. In the first 30 days of his second term, Commissioner Jones took action to protect consumers, hold insurers accountable, fight fraud and make sure that insurance products are available to meet the evolving insurance needs of Californians.

"I am pleased with the work we have done to protect consumers, regulate insurance companies and prosecute those who commit insurance crimes," said Commissioner Jones. "As head of the state's largest consumer protection agency, I look forward to continuing the work we started during my first four years and pursuing new initiatives that benefit California consumers and the economy."

In his first 30 days, Commissioner Jones led the Department of Insurance in accomplishing the following:

Issued emergency health care regulations

Within minutes of being sworn in, Commissioner Jones issued emergency regulations requiring health insurers to have sufficient doctors, hospitals and clinics in their medical provider networks, making sure consumers have reasonable access to health care. The Office of Administrative Law approved the emergency medical provider network adequacy regulations on February 2, 2015. Among other safeguards, the regulations require patients to be told-before they receive treatment-when an out-of-network medical provider will be used, so the patient can object and avoid getting hit with a huge out-of-network bill, a practice the commissioner refers to as surprise billing.

Fined Mercury Insurance $27.5 Million for unauthorized fees

As part of an ongoing effort by the department to protect consumers from unreasonable fees, Commissioner Jones issued the largest fine in the department's history against a property and casualty insurer-Mercury Insurance-for charging illegal fees.

Charged 29 in bust of organized family insurance fraud crime ring

Fighting fraud continues to be a priority for Commissioner Jones. Insurance fraud is a multi-billion dollar drain on California's economy. Every consumer pays for fraud through higher insurance premiums, as insurers pass along the cost of the losses to policyholders. Suspects in this case filed more than $500,000 in fraudulent auto insurance claims and were arrested by detectives from the Department of Insurance Enforcement Branch.

Approved first personal auto insurance product for drivers of UberX months ahead of deadline

To help close the insurance gap for those who drive for transportation network companies, such as UberX, Commissioner Jones approved a first of its kind personal auto insurance policy for UberX drivers months ahead of deadline.

Won an important legal victory, preventing insurers from passing "brand" advertising costs on to consumers

In a case where Commissioner Jones was sued by Mercury Insurance and the insurance industry, the superior court upheld the Commissioner's regulations under Proposition 103 barring insurers from passing the cost of brand or institutional advertising, such as sporting event or arena sponsorships, on to consumers.

Insurance Commissioner Jones is committed to continuing his work to protect consumers and ensuring California has a healthy and vibrant insurance marketplace.

The California Department of Insurance, established in 1868, is the largest consumer protection agency in California. Insurers collect $310 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 $469 million in claims and premiums. Please visit the Department of Insurance website at Non-media inquiries should be directed to the Consumer Hotline at 800.927.4357. Telecommunications Devices for the Deaf (TDD), please dial 800.482.4833.

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