What we do
PIFC represents our member companies before California State government. Our issues are narrow but important: personal lines property and casualty insurance.
Personal auto, home, flood, and earthquake insurance is regulated in California with significant state oversight. Through Proposition 103, these lines of insurance are subject to price controls.
PIFC lobbies all branches of California state government. Our specific activities include legislative, regulatory, and legal advocacy, as well as political and grassroots activities.
Honesty, trustworthiness, and understanding the issues are the cornerstone of good legislative advocacy. PIFC staff pride themselves on being informed and knowledgeable about the legislative and legal complexities of property and casualty insurance.
For PIFC, good legislative advocacy requires constant education for those inside and outside state government. Done through preparation for legislative hearings, submitting position letters and papers, testifying in legislative committees, and organizing floor votes.
California consumers win when insurance companies have enough flexibility to compete with 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 strives to provide legislators and their staff accurate information that will help legislators make educated decisions on behalf of their constituents.
PIFC staff communicates on regulatory matters with the California Department of Insurance (CDI) and any other state agency whose enforcement of state law impacts the business of insurance and insurance consumers.
Generally, our work is within CDI. CDI has over 1400 employees to regulate the insurance industry and more power over insurance law than virtually any other state insurance department in the United States.
CDI can have multiple proposed new rules out for public comment at any given time. PIFC staff monitors these proposed agency rules, provides oral and written testimony at public hearings, and meets with key stakeholders to ensure the executive branch implementation of state legislation is fair to all involved.
Regulatory work before state agencies such as CDI generally requires PIFC attorneys and lobbyists to work through various details of implementing vague statute.
It is not uncommon for groups dissatisfied with a state statute to ask the administrative agency, like CDI, to issue a rule against the spirit of that statute. In these circumstances, PIFC staff will 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 law that is improperly enforced by the executive branch.
PIFC sometimes must resort to litigation to resolve regulatory disputes. There are examples of state agencies issuing rules without public input or without following the required public notice process. When this happens, PIFC staff prepares the written evidence for submission to the Office of Administrative Law seeking a determination whether the state agency violated laws guaranteeing proper public notice and input.
California courts play a significant role in the interpretation of laws affecting the insurance industry.
Issues end up in court generally in two ways:
- Insurers or plaintiff lawyers who make money from the insurance system will challenge rules of an executive branch agency active on insurance issues, like the California Department of Insurance (CDI).
- Plaintiff lawyers alleging fraud, misrepresentation, or even price gouging, despite the state controlling insurer profits.
In both of these circumstances, PIFC has an active legal advocacy program to challenge unlawful regulatory actions and file amicus curiae (friend of the court) briefs on important cases.
PIFC makes every effort to resolve issues through the legislative and regulatory process, and through negotiation, we unfortunately must get involved in litigation more often that we would like when adverse parties refuse to be reasonable and find a fair solution.
Political and Grassroots Action
PIFC has an active partnership with Personal Insurance Federation Political Action Committee (PIFPAC).
PIFPAC is the political action committee for State Farm agents and employees, and works closely with FEAPAC, the Farmers Employees & Agents Political Action Committee.
PIFPAC and FEAPAC are a voice for insurance agents, who are community-oriented, small business owners in every California community. It is critical that insurance agents, as small business owners who are knowledgeable about their communities engage with, and evaluate candidates running for office, who make decisions which affect the livelihoods of insurance professionals, and the communities they live in. Money in these PAC’s is provided by individual insurance professionals, with no corporate dollars from State Farm or Farmers.
Through these PAC’s, insurance agents evaluate candidates for State Assembly, State Senate, and local elected offices. After a thorough vetting process, the PIFPAC Board makes recommendations for campaign support. This can include introducing candidates to new networks of community leaders, precinct walking, and direct campaign funding.
It is critical funds raised through PIFPAC be available for independent expenditure (IE) campaigns. IE campaigns are conducted by individuals or organizations outside control of the candidate seeking office. Running IE’s is the opportunity for insurance professionals to support candidates that share their values.
PIFPAC and FEAPAC are involved in numerous IE’s across California and have helped elect many quality candidates to the State Legislature.
It is critical insurance professionals continue this necessary political activism.