Sen. Gaines’ bill to expedite insurance rate reductions to consumers fails in committee

By April 30, 2014

SACRAMENTO – Senator Ted Gaines’ (R–Roseville) bill to immediately get rate reductions to insurance consumers (Senate Bill 1173), failed April 24 in the Senate Insurance Committee on a 3-8 vote.

“I am extremely disappointed that the Committee failed to pass this important bill,” said Gaines. “California auto insurance is the eighth-highest in the country and rate decreases take between four months and a year to get through the bureaucratic process. That’s a travesty. Hardworking Californians deserve to benefit from valuable insurance cost savings immediately.”

Senate Bill 1173 would have required that the Insurance Commissioner automatically accept any rate decrease application filed with the Department of Insurance. This would save consumers months’ worth of higher prices because of rate adjustments they’re waiting on the Insurance Commissioner to approve.

In 1988, Proposition 103 established a rate review process to be implemented by an elected Insurance Commissioner and the Department of Insurance (DOI). The process includes a full application to be submitted to the department, public notice and a hearing, if required.

Proposition 103 was aimed at combating the unchecked insurance rate increases happening at the time, and put tighter regulation and oversight on the industry to prevent abuses and discriminatory practices by insurers.

The regulations set in place also established a formula to cap the profits to the insurers, and restrict the costs that can be passed onto the consumers — specifically political use of premiums and fees paid.

“This bill would have upheld voters’ intent to put protections on rate hikes and insurer profits, but also ensured that customers save money when an insurer is able to lower rates,” said Gaines. “I will continue to look for opportunities to advocate on behalf of California taxpayers and eliminate unnecessary bureaucratic processes that waste time and money.”

Senator Ted Gaines represents the 1st Senate District, which includes all or parts of Alpine, El Dorado, Lassen, Modoc, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Sacramento, Shasta, Sierra and Siskiyou counties.

Ted Gaines

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