About the Department
The California Department of Insurance (CDI) was created in 1868 as part of a national system of state-based insurance regulation. The insurance market place has changed dramatically over time, but consumer protection continues to be the core of CDI's mission.
Today, CDI is the largest consumer protection agency in the state. With annual direct premiums of $310 billion, California is the largest insurance market in the United States and the fourth largest insurance market in the world.
Nearly 1,400 dedicated employees work at CDI to oversee more than 1,300 insurance companies and license more than 410,000 agents, brokers, adjusters, and business entities. In the normal course of business, CDI annually processes more than 8,000 rate applications, issues approximately 190,000 licenses (new and renewals) and performs hundreds of financial reviews and examinations of insurers doing business in California. CDI annually receives more than 170,000 consumer assistance calls, investigates more than 37,000 consumer complaints and, as a result, recovers more than $84 million a year for consumers. CDI also annually receives and processes tens of thousands of referrals regarding suspected fraud against insurers and others and conducts criminal investigations resulting in thousands of arrests every year.
All of CDI's functions, including overseeing insurer solvency, licensing agents and brokers, conducting market conduct reviews, resolving consumer complaints, and investigating and prosecuting insurance fraud, are to protect consumers.
Consumers, insurance companies, and licensees rely on CDI to ensure that insurance products and services are available to consumers timely, and that they deliver fair and equal benefits. To meet these expectations, CDI ensures that insurers are solvent, consumer complaints are addressed in a reasonable manner, and insurers and licensees play fairly in the marketplace.
In 1988, California voters passed Proposition 103, a citizen-led initiative. Proposition 103 expanded CDI's authority as well as changed the Insurance Commissioner from an appointee of the Governor to an independent statewide officer elected by popular vote. Proposition 103 also required prior approvals of property and casualty rates, including personal auto and homeowner insurance.
CDI enforces the insurance laws of California and has authority over how insurers and licensees conduct business in California.
License fees, assessments, and Proposition 103 recoupment fees are the primary sources of funding for CDI.
CDI's work is accomplished through the following branches and offices:
Administration and Licensing Services: Provides administrative support services to all CDI programs and licenses more than 410,000 agents, brokers, adjusters and business entities.
Communications and Press Relations: Coordinates and disseminates CDI's message and objectives to consumers, the industry, media and CDI employees.
Community Programs & Policy Initiatives: Connects CDI with consumers by creating and sustaining partnerships with community groups, consumer organizations, small businesses, nonprofits, insurance industry organizations, federal, state and local government entities and individuals. This branch is also responsible for analyzing emerging insurance issues with policy implications and helps implement policy initiatives.
Consumer Services and Market Conduct: Educates consumers, mediates consumer complaints and enforces insurance laws through investigation of consumer complaints against insurers and licensees and examinations of insurer claims and underwriting files.
Enforcement: Investigates criminal and regulatory violations, including fraud.
Financial Surveillance: Conducts risk-focused financial surveillance of the insurance industry to ensure it can provide the benefits and protections promised to California consumers.
Health Policy and Reform: Helps oversee state-level efforts to implement federal health care reform in health insurance and assists in the development of health-related policy initiatives.
Legal / General Counsel: Ensures compliance with the California Insurance Code by all insurers and licensees and assists with legislative and regulatory initiatives.
Legislative: Pursues CDI's legislative agenda and represents the Insurance Commissioner on all state and federal legislative issues before the state Legislature and the U.S. Congress in collaboration with the Governor's Administration, legislators and myriad stakeholders.
Rate Regulation: Analyzes and approves filings submitted by property and casualty insurers and other insurance organizations under California's statutes relating to prior approval of rates.
Special Counsel to the Commissioner: Provides independent legal advice directly to the Insurance Commissioner, provides oversight of Department Rulemaking Projects and Regulations, directs the interaction with the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), and manages various special projects and Commissioner-initiatives.