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Insurance Issues? California's Department of Insurance May Be Able to Help

NBC 7 Responds sat down with the state's insurance commissioner to see what resources are available to San Diegans

NBC Universal, Inc.

If you've ever had issues with your insurance company, there are places you can turn for help.

California's Department of Insurance is one such resource.

"Imagine a family against an insurance company," said state Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara. "Who's going to win?"

Lara says that's the reason his department exists. He says they work to help people when dealing with any kind of insurance that operates in the state.

"You have an advocate, a consumer advocate, that's there watching," said Lara. "Making sure we keep them humble and we keep them honest."

During the pandemic, Lara was quick to make sure all auto insurance companies were providing discounts or rebates to people stuck at home.

"Some insurance companies were charging consumers as if there was no pandemic as if people weren't driving less," said Lara. "The rates of accidents were coming down so I ordered them to give partial refunds back to consumers."

Lara also said you shouldn't worry about insurance companies unfairly raising your rates.

"The rates have to be approved by my department," said Lara. "We have actuaries and very sophisticated ways to look at the market and see if it merits a rate increase."

With millions of residents, California is a major market for insurance companies.

"The largest in the country, third in the world," said Lara. "Companies are making a profit, we just want to make sure that when Californians need their insurance products they will get their full benefit."

The American Property Casualty Insurance Association represents home, auto, and business insurers. The association says that insurance companies did take on many initiatives during the pandemic, such as reimbursements and discounts. They also told NBC 7 they look forward to continuing to work with the CDI.

If you have an issue with a company and want to file a complaint with the California Department of Insurance, you can find do so here.

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