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California State Government March 5, 2002 Election
Smart Voter

Consumer Protection

By Thomas M. "Tom" Calderon

Candidate for Insurance Commissioner; State of California; Democratic Party

This information is provided by the candidate
"Consumers deserve to have peace of mind that the insurance products they buy today will be there when they need them in the future. I will make sure our insurance system lives up to consumers' expectations." Assemblyman Tom Calderon

People ask me why I'm running for this office. After all, Insurance Commissioner doesn't sound very glamorous. The reality is that after rent or mortgage and maybe a car or school loan, for most Californians, insurance is the next largest payment they make each year. You may not always think about the how much insurance matters to you and your family, but you want to be absolutely sure that the coverage is there when you DO need it. I want to make sure that you have that peace of mind. I want to make sure that the industry keeps its promises to you. That is the job of the Insurance Commissioner - to protect consumers. I take that responsibility very seriously and that is why I am running.

The California Department of Insurance is the first line of defense for consumers against the big, multi-state and multi-national insurance companies. The department and the Commissioner must protect consumers, enforce the law, ensure fair play, and take consistent action.

My number one priority will be improving consumer protection. Currently, only 13 employees of the department are responsible for consumer services. Clearly, that is inadequate to meet the needs of the millions of policyholders throughout California. The vacancies within the department should be filled immediately with a strong emphasis in the consumer services division.

Specifically, I propose to:

Increase staffing and training for the consumer services and fraud prevention units

Strengthen the consumer protection enforcement unit to ensure that consumers are protected against unscrupulous insurance industry actors

Create a hotline dedicated to assisting consumers with auto insurance problems

Require insurers to provide the department with a written response to a consumer inquiry within a reasonable time period

Create a Senior Ombudsperson position within the department to assist older consumers with complex insurance problems

Next Page: Position Paper 2

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ca/state Created from information supplied by the candidate: February 8, 2002 10:23
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