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Public has a right to know how insurers choose who is eligible for coverage

News: 2018 Press Release

For Release: August 10, 2018
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Public has a right to know how insurers choose who is eligible for coverage
Transparency of underwriting rules lets consumers know if they’re being treated fairly by their insurers
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Today, the general counsel for the California Department of Insurance issued a legal opinion, that under insurance reform law Proposition 103, insurers' underwriting rules submitted with a rate application must be made available for public inspection.

Underwriting rules are the criteria insurance companies use to determine whom to insure, what they will insure, and whether to renew an existing policy.

"Consumers and insurers alike benefit from transparency," said Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones. "Consumers are able to better understand how insurance companies decide who to insure and who to renew."

Voters passed Proposition 103 in 1988 to lower insurance rates and encourage the public to participate in the rate-setting process. Insurance companies seeking a rate increase or decrease must submit public rate applications to the commissioner including their underwriting rules.

In the past, certain insurers have contended their underwriting rules are confidential or proprietary information and not subject to public disclosure.

In response to a request by a member of the public, the general counsel analyzed the issue and determined Proposition 103 does not allow this practice.

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Media Note: 

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. Teletypewriter (TTY), please dial 800-482-4833.

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