The California Department of Insurance insists the goal of a proposed emergency regulation is to make sure that insurers use plain English on all posted market conduct exams, but according to the National Association of Independent Insurers, the use of eighth-grade language would not provide consumers with a balanced report.
The NAII is urging the Office of Administrative Law to reject the regulation that would implement a portion of SB 1805, a bill requiring the insurance commissioner to post copies of adopted market conduct exams on the CDI’s website. SB 1805, which passed the Legislature last year, granted public online access to these reports, but it also gave insurers the right to fully respond with comments so that consumers would have both sides of the story.
Examination reports involve technical rating and underwriting matters, complex claims procedures and complicated legal issues that may need lengthy explanation. In its proposed regulation, however, the CDI is attempting to regulate the length and content of insurer comments, requiring insurers to use “eighth-grade level” English and setting an arbitrary 20-page limit, according to the NAII. No such restriction is imposed on the CDI’s language in the report.
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