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CA Department of Insurance

Regulator takes legal action against Access Insurance to protect consumers

News: 2017 Press Release

For Release: August 2, 2017
Media Calls Only: 916-492-3566
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Regulator takes legal action against Access Insurance to protect consumers
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The California Department of Insurance last week issued an Order to Show Cause, Accusation, and Notice of Noncompliance charging Access Insurance Company and some of its affiliates with engaging in improper claims handling and improper rating and underwriting practices in violation of the California Insurance Code and the Fair Claims Settlement Regulations.

"Consumers should have confidence that anyone selling them insurance in California is complying with our consumer protection laws," said Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones. "Making sure insurance companies deliver on their promises to consumers is a critical part of the department's mission."

In response to numerous consumer complaints about Access' business practices, the department launched an investigation that revealed over 40 different alleged statutory and regulatory violations. The alleged violations in the Order to Show Cause and Accusation include misrepresentation of pertinent facts to claimants, failure to acknowledge and act reasonably promptly, and failure to adopt and implement reasonable standards for the prompt investigation and processing of claims arising under insurance policies.

The Notice of Noncompliance alleges Access's rating plans, rating systems, rates and underwriting guidelines, and their implementation by Access and its affiliates violated California law. These allegations include cancelling policies for reasons not permitted by law, failure to give appropriate discounts, and overcharging consumers for certain fees.

In addition to suspension of Access's Certificate of Authority, the Order to Show Cause seeks monetary penalties against Access and its affiliates of up to $5,000 for each alleged violation, or if the act was willful, up to $10,000 and an order requiring Access to cease and desist from further engaging in methods, acts or practices that are unfair and deceptive within the meaning of the Unfair Practices Act and Fair Claims Settlement Regulations.

The Notice of Noncompliance requires Access to correct any unlawful practices within 10 days of receiving the notice. For each allegation, Access must also show proof of compliance or correction. If Access fails to comply within the allotted time the department will set a public hearing and if the commissioner finds Access to be in violation, he may order payment of monetary penalties and other appropriate corrective action.

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Media Notes:
  • Link to legal documents.
  • Access is ordered to show why Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones should not exercise his authority pursuant to Insurance Code section 704 to suspend Access's Certificate of Authority to do business with California consumers.  

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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