ACIC’s Releases Special Insurance-Related Legislative Roundup

August 8, 2005

This is the Association of California Insurance Companies special report on the status of significant insurance-related bills that are awaiting action by the Legislature. Lawmakers return from their month-long summer recess Aug. 15 and the following bills will be among the hundreds of measures scheduled for consideration during the final four weeks of this year’s session.

Administrative Law
AB 1351 (Vargas) Office of Administrative Law: Regulations. AB 1351 would establish a process in the Office of Administrative Law for the purpose of investigating a state agency’s use and enforcement of rules and regulations that have not been adopted pursuant to the Administrative Procedure Act (i.e. underground regulations). The bill is in Senate Appropriations Committee set for hearing Aug. 15. ACIC supports the bill.

Auto
AB 778 (Mullin) Auto Insurance: In-Home Supportive Services. AB 778 would prohibit an automobile liability insurance policy from containing a provision that excludes from coverage the policyholder’s use of the vehicle for performing in-home support services. AB 778 would also prohibit an insurer from declining or canceling a policy on the basis that the insured is using the insured vehicle to provide transportation incidental to the provision of in-home supportive services. The bill is now before the full Senate. ACIC opposes the bill.
AB 1183 (Vargas) Insurance Fraud. AB 1183 would extend the existing Jan. 1, 2007, sunset on the obligation of insurers to pay an annual fee of 30 cents for each vehicle insured. The bill is in Senate Appropriations Committee set for hearing Aug. 15. ACIC opposes the bill.

AB 1325 (Vargas) Motor Vehicle Speed Contest. AB 1325 would increase the minimum jail time for a person convicted of engaging in a motor vehicle speed contest from one day to five days. The bill is in Senate Appropriations Committee set for hearing Aug. 15. ACIC supports the bill.

AB 1474 (Maze) Provisional Licensing Program. AB 1474 makes two changes to California’s graduated driver license program. AB 1474 would extend from six months to one year when graduated drivers licensees are prohibited from transporting individuals under the age of 20. In addition, AB 1474 would expand the restriction on driving between the hours of midnight and 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. The bill is in the Senate Appropriations Committee set for hearing Aug. 15. ACIC supports the bill.

SB 20 (Escutia) Auto Insurance: Low-Cost Policies. SB 20 would extend the existing sunset provision on the low-cost automobile insurance program from January 2007 to January 2011. The low-cost program now operates in Los Angeles and San Francisco counties. SB 20 would make the program a statewide program. Currently, in order to be eligible to purchase a low-cost program policy, a driver’s automobile must not have a value of more than $12,000. SB 20 would increase the value to $20,000. The bill is in Assembly Appropriations Committee set for hearing Aug. 17. ACIC opposes the bill.

SB 150 (Escutia) Insurance: Adverse Underwriting Decisions. SB 150 would change notification requirements for adverse underwriting decisions made by auto and homeowners insurers. Rather than supplying reasons for the decision to insureds who submit a written request, SB 150 would require an insurer to provide written specific reasons for a declination, nonrenewal or cancellation. The requirement for written reasons would not apply if the consumer’s inquiry is solely oral. The bill is in Assembly Appropriations Committee set for hearing Aug. 17. ACIC opposes the bill.

Civil Practice
AB 1459 (Canciamilla) Small Claims Court: Jurisdiction. AB 1459 would increase the jurisdiction of Small Claims Court from $5,000 to $7,500. The bill is in Senate Appropriations Committee set for hearing Aug. 15. ACIC opposes the bill.

SB 399 (Escutia) Health care liens. SB 399 would allow counties (public hospitals) and doctors to recover from a defendant “the reasonable value of the care and treatment” provided to a Medi-Cal eligible person injured as a result of another party’s negligence, even if the value of those services exceeds the Medi-Cal reimbursement rate paid to the hospital or doctor as full payment for the care. The bill is before the full Assembly. ACIC opposes the bill.

SB 422 (Simitian) Small Claims Court: Jurisdiction. SB 422 would increase the jurisdiction of the small claims court from demands not exceeding $5,000 to demands not exceeding $7,500. The bill is in Assembly Appropriations Committee set for hearing Aug. 17. ACIC opposes the bill.

SB 815 (Ortiz) Service of Process. SB 815 would allow a plaintiff to serve a defendant’s insurance company in lieu of publication of the summons where personal service cannot be achieved with reasonable diligence. The bill is now before the full Assembly. ACIC opposes the bill.

Homeowners
AB 1640 (Saldana) Insurance Claims Information. AB 1640 requires insurers to disclose to policyholders that they report claim information to a claims database and include in the disclosure the contact information for the claims database. The disclosure must be made on the declarations page, in the Homeowners Bill of Rights and upon conclusion of any claim. The bill is in Senate Appropriations Committee set for hearing Aug. 15. ACIC opposes the bill.

SB 2 (Speier) Homeowners Insurance: Valuation: Continuing Education. SB 2 would, among other things, 1) require agent-brokers to be trained to evaluate replacement costs of structures as well as identifying experts for evaluating replacement costs of structures; 2) make the mediation program permanent for fire and earthquake declared disasters; 3) require a list of items, eligible for reimbursement for additional living expenses, be provided to an insured in the event of a claim. The bill is in Assembly Appropriations Committee set for hearing Aug. 17. ACIC supports the bill.

SB 150 (Escutia) Insurance: Adverse Underwriting Decisions. SB 150 would change notification requirements for adverse underwriting decisions made by auto and homeowners insurers. Rather than supplying reasons for the decision to insureds who submit a written request, SB 150 would require an insurer to provide written specific reasons for a declination, nonrenewal or cancellation. The requirement for written reasons would not apply if the consumer’s inquiry is solely oral. The bill is in Assembly Appropriations Committee set for hearing Aug. 17. ACIC opposes the bill.

SB 518 (Kehoe) Homeowners Insurance: Insurance Adjusters. SB 518 would 1) require insurers to provide copies of policies to insureds within 30 days of requests from the insureds for policies other than commercial lines and workers’ compensation policies; 2) extend coverage for additional living expenses from 12 to 24 months; 3) impose additional requirements on public insurance adjusters. The bill is in Assembly Appropriations Committee set for hearing Aug. 17. After the bill was amended, ACIC went from opposed to neutral.

Workers’ Compensation
SB 538 (Kuehl) Workers’ Compensation: Medical Provider Networks. SB 538 would establish statutory standards for medical provider networks. SB 538 would also require a health care organization that serves as a medical provider network to demonstrate that it has sufficient capacity to provide services to workers’ compensation claimants. In addition, the bill would set patient-to-provider ratios and require MPNs to be recertified every three years. The bill was held in Assembly Appropriations Committee for a vote at a later date. ACIC opposes the bill.

SB 1023 (Dunn) Workers’ Compensation: Enforcement Penalties. SB 1023 would require an employer to pay a workers’ compensation claimant an additional $2,000 when the claimant is required to seek enforcement of a workers’ compensation award. The payment would increase to $5,000 for subsequent enforcement actions. SB 1023 is now before the full Assembly. ACIC opposes the bill.

Was this article valuable?

Here are more articles you may enjoy.