Calif. Commissioner Seeks ‘Fair Claims’ Reg Changes

March 17, 2003

Acting to provide greater protection for consumers who file insurance claims, Calif. Insurance Commissioner John Garamendi has proposed amendments to the Fair Claims Settlement Practices (FCSP) regulations, which govern how insurers handle claims.

“Protecting the consumer is our top priority at the Department of Insurance,” said Garamendi. “These amendments make the FCSP regulations applicable to all types of insurers and strengthens control of how claims are handled.”

The FCSP regulations provide clear standards of conduct for insurers and other licensees on how to comply with the Insurance Code’s unfair claims settlement practices statutes. The Commissioner’s filing with the Office of Administrative Law (OAL) would expand the scope of the regulations to the entire surety industry and require that insurers be held responsible for the accuracy of information they use to evaluate insurance claims.

It would also enhance restrictions on certain clauses in policies that result in unfair claims practices, prohibit unfair penalties against motorists who use non-preferred provider auto repair shops, and broaden language that defines what constitutes non-compliance by insurers.

The OAL has 30 working days to act on the proposal. If approved, the changes are submitted to the Secretary of State’s office and become effective after 90 days.

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