ACIC Shows Support for Insurers; Disappointed with Commissioner Garamendi’s Remarks

May 3, 2004

The Association of California Insurance Companies (ACIC) responded on Monday to the Department of Insurance’s news conference. In a response from Sam Sorich, ACIC president, he released the following statement.

“We deeply sympathize with the victims of last year’s devastating firestorms in Southern California. Insurance companies immediately responded to the plight of their customers by establishing assistance centers in burned-out areas even as the fires still raged. Insurers ever since have been working closely with their customers in the recovery process.

“It is important that homeowners know the provisions of their policies before these kinds of disasters strike. The Legislature and governor recognized this fact several years ago when they required insurers to regularly provide their policyholders with details about their homeowner policies.

“All of this raises a number of questions about the Dept. of Insurance’s role in the education process. In other words, helping California consumers before disaster strikes – and not just complaining about insurance companies after the fact.

“We are especially disappointed the commissioner recently said that insurers are ‘screwing their policyholders big time.’ Insurers, in fact, are doing the best they can to help their customers through this difficult time. After all, insurers are in business to provide a service and to keep their customers as satisfied as possible. It makes no sense for an insurer to “screw” its policyholders and expect to stay in business.

“We’ve heard a great deal since last year’s fires from the Dept. of Insurance. But what did we hear from the department before the fires?

“The Dept. of Insurance’s budget is more than $130 million. It seems to us that the department could have found some funding within that huge budget to better educate consumers so coverage issues that are now being discussed could have been avoided.”

The Association of California Insurance Companies (ACIC) is an affiliate of the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI) and represents more than 300 property/casualty companies doing business in California.

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