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§ 2695.7. Standards for Prompt, Fair and Equitable Settlements.

10 CA ADC § 2695.7BARCLAYS OFFICIAL CALIFORNIA CODE OF REGULATIONS

Barclays Official California Code of Regulations Currentness
Title 10. Investment
Chapter 5. Insurance Commissioner
Subchapter 7.5. Unfair or Deceptive Acts or Practices in the Business of Insurance
Article 1. Fair Claims Settlement Practices Regulations
10 CCR § 2695.7
§ 2695.7. Standards for Prompt, Fair and Equitable Settlements.
(a) No insurer shall discriminate in its claims settlement practices based upon the claimant's age, race, gender, income, religion, language, sexual orientation, ancestry, national origin, or physical disability, or upon the territory of the property or person insured.
(b) Upon receiving proof of claim, every insurer, except as specified in subsection 2695.7(b)(4) below, shall immediately, but in no event more than forty (40) calendar days later, accept or deny the claim, in whole or in part. The amounts accepted or denied shall be clearly documented in the claim file unless the claim has been denied in its entirety.
(1) Where an insurer denies or rejects a first party claim, in whole or in part, it shall do so in writing and shall provide to the claimant a statement listing all bases for such rejection or denial and the factual and legal bases for each reason given for such rejection or denial which is then within the insurer's knowledge. Where an insurer's denial of a first party claim, in whole or in part, is based on a specific statute, applicable law or policy provision, condition or exclusion, the written denial shall include reference thereto and provide an explanation of the application of the statute, applicable law or provision, condition or exclusion to the claim. Every insurer that denies or rejects a third party claim, in whole or in part, or disputes liability or damages shall do so in writing.
(2) Subject to the provisions of subsection 2695.7(k), nothing contained in subsection 2695.7(b)(1) shall require an insurer to disclose any information that could reasonably be expected to alert a claimant to the fact that the subject claim is being investigated as a suspected fraudulent claim.
(3) Written notification pursuant to this subsection shall include a statement that, if the claimant believes all or part of the claim has been wrongfully denied or rejected, he or she may have the matter reviewed by the California Department of Insurance, and shall include the address and telephone number of the unit of the Department which reviews claims practices.
(4) The time frame in subsection 2695.7(b) shall not apply to claims arising from policies of disability insurance subject to Section 10123.13 of the California Insurance Code, disability income insurance subject to Section 10111.2 of the California Insurance Code or mortgage guaranty insurance subject to Section 12640.09(a) of the California Insurance Code, and shall not apply to automobile repair bills arising from policies of automobile collision and comprehensive insurance subject to Section 560 of the California Insurance Code. All other provisions of subsections 2695.7(b)(1), (2), and (3) are applicable.
(c)(1) If more time is required than is allotted in subsection 2695.7(b) to determine whether a claim should be accepted and/or denied in whole or in part, every insurer shall provide the claimant, within the time frame specified in subsection 2695.7(b), with written notice of the need for additional time. This written notice shall specify any additional information the insurer requires in order to make a determination and state any continuing reasons for the insurer's inability to make a determination. Thereafter, the written notice shall be provided every thirty (30) calendar days until a determination is made or notice of legal action is served. If the determination cannot be made until some future event occurs, then the insurer shall comply with this continuing notice requirement by advising the claimant of the situation and providing an estimate as to when the determination can be made.
(2) Subject to the provisions of subsection 2695.7(k), nothing contained in subsection 2695.7(c)(1) shall require an insurer to disclose any information that could reasonably be expected to alert a claimant to the fact that the claim is being investigated as a possible suspected fraudulent claim.
(d) Every insurer shall conduct and diligently pursue a thorough, fair and objective investigation and shall not persist in seeking information not reasonably required for or material to the resolution of a claim dispute.
(e) No insurer shall delay or deny settlement of a first party claim on the basis that responsibility for payment should be assumed by others, except as may otherwise be provided by policy provisions, statutes or regulations, including those pertaining to coordination of benefits.
(f) Except where a claim has been settled by payment, every insurer shall provide written notice of any statute of limitation or other time period requirement upon which the insurer may rely to deny a claim. Such notice shall be given to the claimant not less than sixty (60) days prior to the expiration date; except, if notice of claim is first received by the insurer within that sixty days, then notice of the expiration date must be given to the claimant immediately. With respect to a first party claimant in a matter involving an uninsured motorist, this notice shall be given at least thirty (30) days prior to the expiration date; except, if notice of claim is first received by the insurer within that thirty days, then notice of the expiration date must be given to the claimant immediately. This subsection shall not apply to a claimant represented by counsel on the claim matter.
(g) No insurer shall attempt to settle a claim by making a settlement offer that is unreasonably low. The Commissioner shall consider any admissible evidence offered regarding the following factors in determining whether or not a settlement offer is unreasonably low:
(1) the extent to which the insurer considered evidence submitted by the claimant to support the value of the claim;
(2) the extent to which the insurer considered legal authority or evidence made known to it or reasonably available;
(3) the extent to which the insurer considered the advice of its claims adjuster as to the amount of damages;
(4) the extent to which the insurer considered the advice of its counsel that there was a substantial likelihood of recovery in excess of policy limits;
(5) the procedures used by the insurer in determining the dollar amount of property damage;
(6) the extent to which the insurer considered the probable liability of the insured and the likely jury verdict or other final determination of the matter;
(7) any other credible evidence presented to the Commissioner that demonstrates that (i) any amount offered by the insurer in settlement of a first-party claim to an insured not represented by counsel, or (ii) the final amount offered in settlement of a first-party claim to an insured who is represented by counsel or (iii) the final amount offered in settlement of a third party claim by the insurer is below the amount that a reasonable person with knowledge of the facts and circumstances would have offered in settlement of the claim.
(h) Upon acceptance of the claim in whole or in part and, when necessary, upon receipt of a properly executed release, every insurer, except as specified in subsection 2695.7(h)(1) and (2) below, shall immediately, but in no event more than thirty (30) calendar days later, tender payment or otherwise take action to perform its claim obligation. The amount of the claim to be tendered is the amount that has been accepted by the insurer as specified in subsection 2695.7(b). In claims where multiple coverage is involved, and where the payee is known, amounts that have been accepted by the insurer shall be paid immediately, but in no event more than thirty (30) calendar days, if payment would terminate the insurer's known liability under that individual coverage, unless impairment of the insured's interests would result. The time frames specified in this subsection shall not apply where the policy provides for a waiting period after acceptance of claim and before payment of benefits.
(1) The time frame specified in subsection 2695.7(h) shall not apply to claims arising from policies of disability insurance subject to Section 10123.13 of the California Insurance Code, disability income insurance subject to Section 10111.2 of the California Insurance Code, or of mortgage guaranty insurance subject to Section 12640.09(a) of the California Insurance Code, and shall not apply to automobile repair bills subject to Section 560 of the California Insurance Code. All other provisions of Section 2695.7(h) are applicable.
(2) Any insurer issuing a title insurance policy shall either tender payment pursuant to subsection 2695.7(h) or take action to resolve the problem which gave rise to the claim immediately upon, but in no event more than thirty (30) calendar days after, acceptance of the claim.
(i) No insurer shall inform a claimant that his or her rights may be impaired if a form or release is not completed within a specified time period unless the information is given for the purpose of notifying the claimant of any applicable statute of limitations or policy provision or the time limitation within which claims are required to be brought against state or local entities.
(j) No insurer shall request or require an insured to submit to a polygraph examination unless authorized under the applicable insurance contract and state law.
(k) Subject to the provisions of subsection 2695.7(c), where there is a reasonable basis, supported by specific information available for review by the California Department of Insurance, for the belief that the claimant has submitted or caused to be submitted to an insurer a suspected false or fraudulent claim as specified in California Penal Code Section 550 or California Insurance Code Section 1871.4(a), the number of calendar days specified in subsection 2695.7(b) shall be:
(1) increased to eighty (80) calendar days; or,
(2) suspended until otherwise ordered by the Commissioner, provided the insurer has complied with California Insurance Code Section 1872.4 and the insurer can demonstrate to the Commissioner that it has made a diligent attempt to determine whether the subject claim is false or fraudulent within the eighty day period specified by subsection 2695.7(k)(1).
(l) No insurer shall deny a claim based upon information obtained in a telephone conversation or personal interview with any source unless the telephone conversation or personal interview is documented in the claim file pursuant to the provisions of Section 2695.3.
(m) No insurer shall make a payment to a provider, pursuant to a policy provision to pay medical benefits, and thereafter seek recovery or set-off from the insured on the basis that the amount was excessive and/or the services were unnecessary, except in the event of a proven false or fraudulent claim, subject to the provisions of Section 10123.145 of the California Insurance Code.
(n) Every insurer requesting a medical examination for the purpose of determining liability under a policy provision shall do so only when the insurer has a good faith belief that such an examination is reasonably necessary.
(o) No insurer shall require that a claimant withdraw, rescind or refrain from submitting any complaint to the California Department of Insurance regarding the handling of a claim or any other matter complained of as a condition precedent to the settlement of any claim.
(p) Every insurer shall provide written notification to a first party claimant as to whether the insurer intends to pursue subrogation of the claim. Where an insurer elects not to pursue subrogation, or discontinues pursuit of subrogation, it shall include in its notification a statement that any recovery to be pursued is the responsibility of the first party claimant. This subsection does not require notification if the deductible is waived, the coverage under which the claim is paid requires no deductible to be paid, the loss sustained does not exceed the applicable deductible, or there is no legal basis for subrogation.
(q) Every insurer that makes a subrogation demand shall include in every demand the first party claimant's deductible. Every insurer shall share subrogation recoveries on a proportionate basis with the first party claimant, unless the first party claimant has otherwise recovered the whole deductible amount. No insurer shall deduct legal or other expenses from the recovery of the deductible unless the insurer has retained an outside attorney or collection agency to collect that recovery. The deduction may only be for a pro rata share of the allocated loss adjustment expense. This subsection shall not apply when multiple policies have been issued to the insured(s) covering the same loss and the language of these contracts prescribe alternative subrogation rights. Further, this subsection shall not apply to disability and health insurance as defined in California Insurance Code Section 106.
Note: Authority cited: Sections 553, 554, 790.03(h)(5), 790.03(h)(12), 790.10, 1861.03(a), 10350.10, 10111.2, 11580.2(k), 12340-12417, inclusive, 12921 and 12926, Insurance Code; Sections 11152 and 11342.2, Government Code; Egan v. Mutual of Omaha Insurance Company(1979) 24 Cal.3d 809 [169 Cal.Rptr. 691]; KPFF, Inc. v. California Union Insurance Company(1997) 56 Cal.App.4th 963 [66 Cal.Rptr.2d 36] (certified for partial publication); and Betts v. Allstate Ins. Co.(1984) 154 Cal.App.3d 688 [201 Cal.Rptr. 528]. Reference: Section 790.03(h)(2), (3), (4), (5), (13) and (15) and 1872.4, Insurance Code; Section 6149.5, Business and Professions Code; and Section 550, Penal Code.
HISTORY
1. New section filed 12-15-92; operative 1-14-93 (Register 92, No. 52).
2. Amendment of section heading, section and Note filed 1-10-97; operative 5-10-97 (Register 97, No. 2).
3. Amendment of section and Note filed 4-24-2003; operative 7-23-2003 (Register 2003, No. 17).
4. Editorial correction of subsection (b) inserting phrase inadvertently omitted from text approved 4-24-2003; filed 7-8-2003; operative 7-23-2003 (Register 2003, No. 28).
5. Change without regulatory effect filed 8-4-2004 depublishing the amendments to the insurance claims handling practices regulations that were approved by OAL 4-24-2003, but were enjoined in Personal Insurance Federation and The Surety Association of America v. John Garamendi, and reinstating replacement regulations that were either (1) in effect prior to OAL's 4-24-2003 approval of the amendments to the regulations or (2) were found by the court to be valid, as amended, all pursuant to a court-approved settlement agreement dated 6-7-2004 (Register 2004, No. 32).
6. Amendment of subsections (b)(1) and (g)(7) and amendment of Note filed 6-1-2006; operative 8-30-2006 (Register 2006, No. 22).
This database is current through 9/6/19 Register 2019, No. 36
10 CCR § 2695.7, 10 CA ADC § 2695.7
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