New consumer protection regulations issued for auto collision repair claims
News: 2016 Press Release
Over the past several years, the Department of Insurance has worked on regulations protecting consumers who have filed automobile collision repair claims with insurance companies. The regulations went through a formal public review process required by state law, which included taking and responding to public input on the regulations at public workshops, public hearings, and through written public comments. The regulations were drafted and revised with input from consumers, insurers, and repair shops.
Insurers limit payments for auto collision repairs based on labor rates derived from insurer created labor rate surveys which did not fairly measure labor rates. Consumers are left having to pay the difference between the actual labor cost of the repair and what the insurer was willing to pay based on its labor rate survey. The new regulation sets forth voluntary standards for insurers to accurately and reliably survey auto body repair labor rates to ensure they are paying the reasonable and proper amount.
"Accurate and reliable labor rate surveys ensure that consumers are not left paying out-of-pocket for collision repairs, which should be covered by insurance, or worse, forced to leave the vehicle in disrepair creating a potential safety concern," said Commissioner Jones.
The Office of Administrative Law (OAL), which independently reviews all new regulations, approved the Commissioner's regulation yesterday. The regulation goes into effect by operation of law on January 1, 2017. However, these newly adopted regulations are part of the Fair Claims Settlement Practices Regulations, which contain a delayed compliance date in order to give insurers, who choose to use these voluntary regulations, additional time to comply. The earliest compliance date is February 28, 2017.
Text of Regulations
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.