California\’s Department of Insurance (CDI)
As a component of a national system of state-based insurance regulation, the Department of Insurance for California was established in 1868. Although the insurance industry has undergone significant transformation throughout the years, CDI\’s primary purpose of protecting consumers has remained the same.
The California Department of Insurance, overseen by Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara, protects all of the state\’s consumers by equitably regulating the insurance sector. It is the consumer protection agency for the country\’s largest insurance marketplace. By the Commissioner\’s instructions, the Department makes use of its powers to defend Californians from insurance rates that are excessive, insufficient, or unfairly discriminatory, monitor insurer solvency to pay claims, establish requirements for agents\’ and brokers\’ licensing, conduct market conduct reviews of insurance companies, address customer complaints, and investigate and prosecute insurance fraud.
At CDI, about 1,400 hardworking staff members manage over 1,400 insurance businesses and issue licenses to more than 485,000 agents, brokers, adjusters, bail agents, and business organizations. The CDI evaluates more than 8,000 rate applications each year, issues about 280,000 licenses (new and renewals), and conducts hundreds of financial evaluations and exams of insurers operating in California. Every year, CDI receives more than 170,000 requests for consumer assistance, looks into more than 37,000 complaints from customers, and as a consequence, gets back more than $84 million for them. Tens of thousands of referrals addressing alleged fraud against insurers and other parties are also received and processed by CDI each year. Additionally, CDI conducts criminal investigations that result in thousands of arrests yearly.
To safeguard consumers, CDI performs all of its duties, including monitoring insurer solvency, licensing agents and brokers, conducting market conduct evaluations, resolving consumer complaints, and looking into and prosecuting insurance fraud.
To guarantee that insurance products and services are timely made available to consumers and that they provide fair and equal benefits, consumers, insurance firms, and licensees rely on CDI. To live up to these expectations, CDI ensures that licensees and insurers operate fairly in the market, that consumer complaints are handled reasonably, and that insurers are financially stable.
California voters approved the citizen-led effort known as Proposition 103 in 1988. In addition to increasing CDI\’s jurisdiction, Proposition 103 converted the Insurance Commissioner from a governor-appointed appointment to an independent statewide official elected by the general public. Property and casualty premiums, such as those for individual vehicle and house insurance, also needed prior approval following Proposition 103.
California\’s insurance laws are enforced by CDI, which controls how licensed insurance companies and other entities operate there.
CDI\’s primary financing sources include license fees, assessments, and Proposition 103 recoupment fees.
What the CDI Does
The CDI’s primary goal is to ensure that California residents are protected against deceptive practices, poor insurance company service, and firms that do not comply with the law. In doing so they:
- Investigate and handle consumer complaints – The CDI will use the information provided by consumers to determine if the insurance company has violated state regulations. If the CDI finds any flaws in the service, it may take enforcement actions against the company.
- Regulate rates and standards for the insurance industry – The CDI works with insurance companies to set rates and standards, ensuring that consumers are not overcharged. They also approve and regulate the insurance companies themselves, ensuring that only legitimate firms are allowed to operate in the state.
- Educate consumers – The CDI provides information and advice to help consumers make informed decisions about insurance. They also provide resources on types of coverage and scams.
How to Contact the CDI
Consumers are encouraged to contact the CDI with any questions or complaints they may have. The CDI can be contacted through the following channels:
- Phone – call 1-800-927-4357 to speak with a CDI representative.
- Website – visit the CDI\’s website here to find answers to common questions, file a complaint form, or search for information related to insurance, like whether your insurance company or an insurance agent has any negative history.
- Mailing address –
- Los Angeles Office: 300 South Spring Street, South Tower, Los Angeles, CA 90013, Main line: 213-346-6464
- Sacramento Office: 300 Capitol Mall, 17th Floor, Sacramento, CA 95814, Main line: 916-492-3500
- Oakland Office: 1901 Harrison Street, 6th Floor, Oakland, CA 94162, Main line: 415-538-4500
The CDI is a valuable resource for California residents, offering the necessary steps to protect consumers and ensure that the state’s insurance industry is operating at the highest standard. For more information, visit CDI’s website.