Administrative Hearing Bureau
The State Legislature has given the Insurance Commissioner the authority to conduct evidentiary hearings on a wide variety of insurance related matters. A list of the types of hearings the AHB conducts is available. The Department's Administrative Hearing Bureau (AHB) supports the Insurance Commissioner's adjudicatory authority by providing a neutral forum for conducting fair and independent evidentiary hearings and mediations. Evidentiary hearings at the AHB are conducted by Administrative Law Judges (ALJ) in accordance with the provisions of the Administrative Procedures Act, the California Insurance Code and Title 10 of the California Code of Regulations. The ALJs retained by the Department are civil service employees and are required to have practiced law for at least five years. The ALJs are judicial officers subject to the provisions of the Administrative Procedures Act and the Code of Judicial Ethics. The ALJs are independent of the Insurance Commissioner and the attorneys that appear before the AHB. Specifically, the ALJs cannot be supervised directly by the Insurance Commissioner or supervised directly or indirectly by an employee in the Department's legal branch pursuant to Insurance Code section 21.5 subdivision (b).
Hearings at the CDI are conducted in the Department's hearing rooms located in San Francisco and Los Angeles. Before scheduling an evidentiary hearing, the ALJ assigned to your case typically will conduct a telephone status conference during which the ALJ will explain hearing procedures, clarify the issues in dispute and answer questions you may have related to the case and the hearing process. Court reporters prepare transcripts of all evidentiary hearings conducted at the AHB and you can purchase a copy of the transcript from the court reporter. Following an evidentiary hearing, the ALJ prepares and submits to the Insurance Commissioner a proposed decision containing findings of fact and conclusions of law. The Insurance Commissioner reviews the proposed decision and issues the final decision in each case.
In addition to maintaining the case files, the AHB also manages the Department's court reporter contract and the AHB's hearing calendar.