PIFC represents its seven member companies before the California state government. Our issues are narrow, but important: personal lines property-casualty insurance issues.
“Personal lines” means the type of insurance that is sold to individuals. We do not represent our members on any commercial products they may sell, such as workers compensation. There are other organizations in Sacramento who represent insurers on commercial insurance issues.
“Personal lines property-casualty” means auto, home, flood and earthquake insurance sold to individuals. We do not represent our members on any health insurance or life insurance products they may sell. There are other organizations in Sacramento who represent insurers on health and life insurance issues.
Personal auto, home, flood and earthquake insurance is regulated in California with heavy state oversight. No other types of insurance in the state are subject to price and profit controls by the California government. This state authority is what required the member companies to create PIFC, as a voice for fair rules that encourage property and casualty insurers to compete and deliver the resulting benefits to consumers.
PIFC lobbies in all branches of state government, and organizes a political and grassroots operation. Specific activities include:
Honesty, trustworthiness and issue mastery are the cornerstones of any lobbying operation. PIFC staff regularly walks the halls of the State Capitol with the hallmark of telling the truth to legislators, legislative staff, the media and even those who lobby against us. PIFC’s lobbyists pride themselves on being informed and knowledgeable about the details of the legislative complexities of the property and casualty insurance.
At PIFC, our mission is to take the complicated language of insurance issues and help state policymakers make reasonable decisions. In the era of term limits, this has become even more difficult as legislators and staff turnover has increased. For PIFC, this requires a constant education effort for those new to the issues.
Our member companies ask state legislators for a clear set of rules that encourage insurers to offer innovative services and to compete against one another. Consumers win when insurers have enough flexibility to battle one another for customers and the California Department of Insurance (CDI) has the tools necessary to protect consumers when an insurer breaks the rules.
PIFC lobbyists educate decision makers in preparation for legislative hearings, testify in legislative committees and organize floor votes. They also submit position letters and issue papers into the Capitol.
PIFC strives to provide legislators with information that will help their constituents make informed choices when purchasing personal insurance. A recent example is this [need to provide a hyper link multi-part series] advising homeowners how they can protect their property and families from wildfires and how to avoid underinsurance. PIFC provided this material to legislators and encouraged them to communicate with their hometown newspapers and directly to constituents. PIFC will continue to disseminate the latest information to assist consumers in taking the best safety precautions as well as making the best insurance choices.
PIFC Legislative List page
PIFC Community Page
PIFC staff communicates on regulatory matters with the CDI and any other state agency whose enforcement of state law impacts the business of insurance and insurance consumers. Most often, our work is with the CDI, which has 1300 employees to regulate the insurance industry and more power over insurance law than virtually any state insurance department in the country. At any given time, the CDI will have many proposed rules out for public comment.
PIFC staff monitors proposed agency rules, provides oral and written testimony at public hearings and meets with key stakeholders to ensure that the executive branch implementation of state legislation is fair to all involved. Regulatory work before state agencies generally requires the use of our attorneys to work through the various details of implementing what oftentimes is a skeletal or vague statute.
It is not uncommon for groups dissatisfied with a particular state statute to ask an administrative agency (such as the CDI) to issue a rule against the spirit of that statute. Or worse, an agency will, on its own, issue a rule without having adequate statutory authority. In these circumstances, PIFC staff will attempt, first, to urge the state agency to adopt a position consistent with state law. If necessary, PIFC staff will return to the State Capitol to correct or clarify a state law that is being improperly enforced by the executive branch. As outlined further below, PIFC staff unfortunately sometimes must resort to litigation to resolve regulatory disputes.
There are examples of state agencies issuing rules without any public input or without following the formal, public notice process. When this happens, PIFC staff must prepare the written evidence for submission to the Office of Administrative Law seeking a determination of whether the state agency violated the laws guaranteeing proper public notice and input.
PIFC Regulatory List page
Over the last several years, California courts have played a significant role in the interpretation of laws affecting the insurance industry. Issues arrive in court through two principal ways.
First, insurers or plaintiff lawyers who make money from the insurance system will challenge the rules of an executive branch agency active on insurance issues, such as the CDI. Because the CDI has so much power over insurers, including the power even to deny insurer rate decrease requests if they are “not enough,” litigation is sometimes necessary for PIFC. Second, insurers are constant targets of lawsuits by plaintiff lawyers alleging fraud, misrepresentation, or even price gouging (even though the state controls insurer profits).
In both these circumstances, PIFC has an active legal advocacy program which initiates legal action when necessary to challenge unlawful regulatory actions and file amicus curiae (friend of the court) briefs on important cases.
While PIFC makes every effort to resolve issues through the legislative and regulatory process and through negotiation, we unfortunately have to get involved in litigation more often than we would like when adverse parties refuse to be reasonable and find a fair solution.
PIFC Legal List Page
Political and Grassroots Action
PIFC has an active partnership with PIFPAC, the Personal Insurance Federation Political Action Committee. This is the political action committee for State Farm and Allstate agents and employees. PIFPAC also coordinates with FEAPAC, the Farmers Employees & Agents Political Action Committee. Together, these PACs are a voice for insurance agents, who are community-oriented, small business owners in every community in California.
All the money in these PACs is provided by individual insurance professionals, with no corporate dollars from State Farm, Allstate or Farmers Insurance.
Through these PACs, insurance agents evaluate candidates for local and state offices, make recommendations for campaign support and participate in political campaigns; including, introducing candidates to new networks of community leaders, offering space for staging campaign activities such as phone banks and precinct walks, and providing direct campaign funding.
It is critical that insurance agents, as small business owners knowledgeable about their communities, engage in the evaluation and election of officials who make decisions which affect the livelihoods of insurance professionals.
It is also critical that the funds raised through these PACs be available for independent expenditure (IE) campaigns. IE campaigns are run outside the control of the candidates seeking elected office and allow for interested parties, such as insurance professionals, to support a candidate who shares their values. Both PIFPAC and FEAPAC have been involved in numerous independent expenditure campaigns across the state, and have helped elect many quality candidates to the State Legislature. It is critical that insurance professionals continue this necessary political activism.