California Department of Insurance Settles with Zurich over Workers’ Comp

July 11, 2013

The California Department of Insurance announced a settlement with Zurich American Insurance Co. and Zurich American Insurance Co. of Illinois over what CDI alleged was improper use of workers’ compensation insurance agreements.

Zurich’s agreements forced California employers to arbitrate commercial disputes in Chicago, where Zurich is headquartered and also required the application of New York law, but under the settlement California employers can choose to arbitrate disputes in California under California law, according to CDI.

“Zurich’s practices required California employers to resolve disputes in Zurich’s backyard, under unfavorable law and circumstances and at added expense to employers,” California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones said in a statement. “This settlement gives California employers the opportunity to level the playing field by arbitrating disputes in California, under California law.”

The department filed an order to show cause against Zurich in 2012, asserting Zurich failed to file workers’ comp large deductible agreement forms with the department as required by the California Insurance Code.

Zurich never filed its large deductible agreements for review, even after the department advised all insurers in 2011 that filing was required, according to CDI, which stated that Zurich’s agreements were generally offered on a “take it or leave it basis” to employers.

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