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CA Department of Insurance
CA Department of Insurance
CA Department of Insurance

About the Department

History

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 1,400 insurance companies and license more than 420,000 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.

Organization

CDI's work is accomplished through the following branches and offices:

Administration and Licensing Services Branch

 

Provides administrative support services to all CDI programs and licenses that include more than 420,000 agents, brokers, adjusters, and business entities.
 

Climate and Sustainability Branch

 

In January 2019, Commissioner Lara established the first in the nation, deputy-level position to focus on engaging the insurance industry in the fight against climate change. This Branch will launch the California Climate Insurance Working Group authorized by Senate Bill 30 (Lara, 2018), develop policies that proactively mitigate climate risks, promote innovation in the insurance marketplace to better protect communities, and lead CDI's coordination efforts with other state agencies on climate policy.  This branch includes:

Office of Climate Risk Initiatives
 

Communications and Press Relations Branch

 

Coordinates and disseminates CDI's message and objectives to consumers, the industry, media, and CDI employees.
 

Community Programs, Research and Outreach Branch    

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 Branch

 

Educates consumers, mediates consumer complaints, and enforces insurance laws through investigation of complaints against insurers and licensees and examinations of insurer claims and underwriting files.
 

Enforcement Branch

 

Investigates criminal and regulator violations, including fraud.
 

Enterprise Planning, Risk and Compliance

 

This office was created in September 2017 to allow the Department to align critical compliance, planning, and risk functions under one office.  This office includes:

Information Security Office
Office of Strategic Planning
Organizational Accountability Office
 

Financial Surveillance Branch

 

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 Branch

 

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 Branch / General Counsel

 

Ensures compliance with the California Insurance Code by all insurers and licensees and assists with legislative and regulatory initiatives.
 

Policy and Legislation Branch

 

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 Regulations Branch

 

Analyzes and approves filings submitted by property and casualty insurers and other insurance organizations under California's statues 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. This branch includes:

Administrative Hearing Bureau
 

Additional Offices

 

Civil Rights Office

Conservation and Liquidation Office
 

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