CDI fines Go Maps Inc. and Topa for insurance claim violations
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The California Department of Insurance announced two settlement agreements with Go Maps, Inc. (Go Maps) and its insurance underwriter, Topa Insurance Company (Topa), after an investigation into complaints that consumer claims were mishandled for more than two dozen drivers.
As part of the agreement, Go Maps agreed to surrender its insurance license, pay a $150,000 fine, pay $50,000 in cost reimbursement, and provide the Department all the information necessary to ensure statutory requirements are fulfilled in regards to existing policyholders.
Topa was fined $2,108,000, and agreed to ensure it has permanent access to all policies managed by any future general agents, certify all general agents and entities hired by general agents are properly licensed, and not to seek any money from consumers who may have been undercharged as a result of rating mistakes in the Go Maps/Topa program.
Go Maps is an “insurtech” company that used an app-based marketing platform to sell and transact its insurance business for Topa. Insurtech companies and insurance companies that use them to market and manage their products must follow California consumer protection laws and have the insurance expertise and licensed individuals in place to properly transact insurance in this state.
In 2019, Go Maps entered into an agreement with Topa to perform all the functions necessary for the sale, service, management, and claims handling of Topa’s private passenger automobile policies that were sold to the public through the Go Maps app. At one point, the Go Maps/Topa program had more than 10,000 California customers representing the vast majority of its approximately 12,000 policies nationwide.
In June 2022, the Department announced it was taking action against Go Maps and Topa in order to protect the public from further harm caused by the companies’ repeatedly violating various consumer protection laws relating to insurance claims.
Go Maps’ and Topa’s failures to follow California’s consumer protection rules forced drivers to pay for rental car expenses and other costs while their insurance claims were delayed. Among other violations Go Maps and/or Topa:
Failed to pay claims within 30 days after the coverage was determined or a settlement was reached. For one consumer, the companies missed the deadline by 52 days. The average delay was more than 24 days beyond the legal 30-day claims payment deadline.
Failed to acknowledge claims, provide necessary forms or instructions, or begin investigations within the statutory 15-day requirement. For one consumer, the companies missed the deadline by 30 days. The average delay was more than 8 days beyond the legal 15-day requirement.
Failed to respond to consumers’ inquiries about their claims within 15 days. For one consumer, the companies missed the deadline by 25 days. The average delay was more than 11 days beyond the legal 15-day requirement.
Failed to deny or accept claims within 40 days. For one consumer, the companies missed the deadline by 66 days. The average delay was more than 25 days beyond the legal 40-days deadline.
Hired an unlicensed insurance adjusting firm to adjust claims.
“These settlements represent an important victory for California consumers as we hold all companies accountable and ensure that they comply with our strong consumer protection laws,” said Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara. “While we encourage new products and innovation in our marketplace, our top priority is protecting policyholders and making sure insurance companies deliver on their promises.”