ACIC: Calif. Consumers Benefit from Committee Action

June 24, 2004

The following is a statement by Sam Sorich, president of the Association of California Insurance Companies (ACIC), regarding action taken this week by the Assembly Insurance Committee on pending homeowner insurance legislation.

“Action taken this week by the Assembly Insurance Committee on pending homeowner insurance bills will benefit consumers in California.

“Consumers are best served when insurance companies are allowed to operate in an open and competitive market, using all the tools available to provide a valuable product at a reasonable price.

“The Insurance Committee acted on several key bills that would have forced insurance rate hikes while reducing the availability of insurance to homeowners in California for years to come.”

Specifically, the committee took the following actions:

· Approved SB 1855, which is a pro-consumer measure requiring full disclosure of homeowner insurance coverages and costs. The bill will expand provisions now contained in state law that requires insurers to disclose and describe their policy coverages to customers.

· Rejected SB 1474, which would have dramatically restricted a homeowner insurer’s ability to consider past claims history. If allowed to become law, homeowners with infrequent claims would have been forced to pay higher premiums to subsidize the frequent losses claimed by other policyholders.

· Amended and passed SB 1323, which initially would have prohibited insurers from using credit information for underwriting or rating. The bill was amended during the committee hearing to include provisions suggested by ACIC that authorize homeowner insurers to use credit information with consumer protections that are part of the National Conference of Insurance Legislators (NCOIL) model law.

· Rejected SB 1315, which would have given the insurance commissioner authority to change homeowner policies while in effect, possibly disrupting the coverage. Critics considered the bill unconstitutional.

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