As most agents know, the California Department of Insurance (CDI) has made very public commitments to reforming regulations and improving efficiency in the ratemaking process to address reasonable requests of insurers to induce them to re-enter the property and auto insurance marketplace. The CDI has also publicly called out intervenors, specifically Consumer Watchdog, who is responsible for 75% of the interventions, increasing costs and adding delay to the ratemaking process. The CDI has also recently committed to reforming the intervention process and to bring more transparency to the process.
While Commissioner Ricardo Lara has said he may need until the end of 2024 to promulgate regulations to allow for risk modeling, the expensing of reinsurance expenses, the creation of a mechanism for insurers to recoup their FAIR Plan assessments, and to improve efficiency in the ratemaking process, we wanted to update you on some positive developments.
The CDI is finally approving rate filings and providing insurers with some rate relief. Clearly this is a mixed blessing as policyholders will be paying more, but without profitable insurers, there is less competition and without competition, consumers lose. At the same time the CDI is finally providing insurers with rates, the CDI is developing the aforementioned regulations, and this month the CDI rejected an intervention effort by Consumer Watchdog, and this is a welcome change.
Please see the attached CDI order denying Consumer Watchdog’s petition to intervene in a Liberty Mutual filing. Importantly, the CDI is finally applying the rules for intervention, including the requirement to raise issues beyond conclusory or vague assertions.
The order ends with this:
“With respect to allegations related to Insurance Code section 1859, Petitioner does not
plead any specific issue, but instead, holds open the possibility that an issue might arise in the
future. Based on the foregoing, the Commissioner is unable to determine what specific issues the
Petitioner intends to raise, the positions Petitioner intends taken on each issue to the extent then
known, or whether the Petitioner seeks to raise issues that are relevant to the issues of the
proceeding. Accordingly, the Commissioner finds that, as to these allegations, the Petition does
not comply with section 2661.3 and Petitioner has not established it is permitted to intervene in
accordance with section 2661.2.”
Also noteworthy, the CDI is now posting intervenor information at this web page: CDI_Public-Chart_Petitions-to-Intervene-and-Participate.pdf (ca.gov).
Not only have they posted the Liberty Mutual denial, they denied another Consumer Watchdog petition in a matter involving The Standard Fire Insurance Company. Order-Denying-CW-Petition-to-Intervene_The-Standard-Fire-Insurance_10-2023.pdf (ca.gov).
There is clearly much work to be done, but the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, and these are steps in the right direction. There is reason for optimism and we will continue to press the CDI to move forward on the regulatory front without unnecessary delay, and we will keep you informed of newsworthy developments.