California has long been a bellwether state for trends that have swept across the country. Such being the case, it became a major battleground in 1988 when five competing referenda dealing with the regulation of insurers were placed on the general election ballot. Proposition 103, the only one of the five initiatives ratified by 51% of the voters, imposed new regulatory requirements on the business.
Proposition 103 changed the insurance industry in the following ways:
- Instituted a system of prior approval of rates;
- Provided for intervention in the rate hearing process and,
- Created an elected Insurance Commissioner. Since implementation of Proposition 103, a number of other legislative proposals were introduced that have damped insurers ability to thrive and serve their customers.
In 1989, two leading insurers in the state, Farmers Insurance Group and State Farm Mutual, formed the Personal Insurance Federation of California (PIFC) to serve as the principal advocate for the property-casualty insurance industry before the California Legislature. Today PIFC represents six insurance company groups and one national trade association which collectively provide more than half of the personal lines property and casualty insurance written in California.