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

About the Department


History | Organization

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.

Led by Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara, the California Department of Insurance is the consumer protection agency for the nation's largest insurance marketplace and safeguards all of the state’s consumers by fairly regulating the insurance industry. Under the Commissioner’s direction, the Department uses its authority to protect Californians from insurance rates that are excessive, inadequate, or unfairly discriminatory, oversee insurer solvency to pay claims, set standards for agents and broker licensing, perform market conduct reviews of insurance companies, resolve consumer complaints, and investigate and prosecute insurance fraud.

Nearly 1,400 dedicated employees work at CDI to oversee more than 1,600 insurance companies and license more than 495,000 agents, brokers, adjusters, bail agents, and business entities. In the normal course of business, CDI annually processes more than 5,500 rate applications, issues approximately 260,000 licenses (new and renewals) and performs hundreds of financial reviews and examinations of insurers doing business in California. CDI annually receives more than 200,000 consumer assistance calls, investigates more than 56,000 consumer complaints and, as a result, recovers more than $130 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 Branch

Provides administrative support services to all CDI programs and licenses that include more than 485,000 agents, brokers, adjusters, bail agents, and business entities.

This Branch includes:

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:

Communications and Press Relations Branch

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

Community Relations 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.

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.

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.


Executive Office

This office includes:

This office was created in September 2017 to allow the Department to align critical compliance, planning, and risk functions under one office. The Office of Enterprise Planning, Risk and Compliance is responsible for establishing and implementing short and long term strategic plans, policies, goals, objectives, and operating procedures related to regulatory changes, risk management, control failures, breaches in physical and data security, compliance activities, internal audits, privacy, and ethics. The office provides heightened leadership and improved coordination of planning, risk, and compliance for the Department.

This office includes:

  • Information Security Office 
  • Internal Audits Unit
  • Risk and Compliance Unit

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.

Legal Branch

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

Conservation and Liquidation Office


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