SB 596, which permits reformatting and consolidation of closely- related current notices required under the California Insurance Code to permit reduction in mailings and paper usage was signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown on Tuesday, Sept 6. Authored by Senator Curren D. Price, Jr., the bill will streamline several consumer notices, thereby reducing customer confusion and providing easier access to relevant information.
“Each year, the insurance industry sends out tens–of–millions of disclosures in the form of paper,’ said Senator Price. “Some of these disclosures relate to the very same issue but are currently required to be sent in two separate mailings.” SB 596 will make some of those disclosures in a way that requires fewer resources and saves paper, while maintaining important consumer disclosures.
According to the Association of California Insurance Companies (ACIC), SB 596 will improve efficiency, reduce confusion by consumers, and save natural resources by consolidating disclosure notices into a single mailing.
SB 596 will strengthen consumer protections by requiring insurers to provide pertinent sections of the insurance law, on one page, clearly identifying prohibited unfair insurance practices in 10 point type. This reduction is consistent with many other consumer protection disclosures.
Additionally, this measure requires insurers selling homeowner’s insurance to disclose to applicants, in the same document that offers earthquake coverage, all discounts or surcharges for homeowner’s insurance and related earthquake insurance, rather than separate mailings so that the consumer clearly understands what discounts are being offered by the insurer.