In January, the California Department of Insurance (DOI) brought an action against Access Insurance Company to protect policyholders. The DOI issued two Orders to Show Cause alleging that Access Insurance Company and some of its affiliates engaged in improper claims handling and improper rating and underwriting practices in violation of the California Insurance Code and the Fair Claims Settlement Regulations.
After numerous complaints, the DOI launched an investigation that revealed over 40 different alleged statutory and regulatory violations. These allegations include the misrepresentation of pertinent facts to claimants, failure to acknowledge and act reasonably promptly, and failure to adopt and implement reasonable standards for the prompt investigation and processing of claims arising under insurance policies.
It was further alleged that Access’s rating plans, rating systems, rates and underwriting guidelines violates California law. Some of these allegations include cancelling policies for reasons not permitted by law, failure to give appropriate discounts, and overcharging consumers for certain fees.
The DOI is seeking penalties of up to $5,000 for each alleged act, or if the act was willful, up to $10,000. Further, the department seeks an order requiring Access and its affiliates to cease and desist from engaging in any acts, methods or practices alleged.
As a consumer, you have a right to file a complaint with the DOI if you believe your insurance claim has been mishandled or you haven’t gotten a reasonable, timely settlement. Another option is to contact an attorney who specializes in insurance bad faith.
At Kerr & Wagstaffe LLP, our attorneys specialize in insurance policyholder rights. To learn more about the attorneys and their insurance practice, please explore the links at the top of this page.