Robert Hogeboom was quoted in a Sept. 17, 2012, Law360 article, Unfair Acts Ruling May Save Calif. Insurers From Stiff Fines (subs. req.), about the impact of a ruling in which a California administrative law judge found that California's Department of Insurance had overstepped its bounds in enforcing Fair Claims Settlement Practices Regulations. Hogeboom represents Torchmark Corp. insurers, who are defendants in the case.
According to the article, the five Torchmark companies stood accused of nearly 700 unfair or deceptive acts but Judge Stephen Smith ruled in their favor, finding that the Department of Insurance had misused the fair claims regulations to expand the state's insurance laws. Experts believe the ruling will embolden other insurers to challenge the agency.
Hogeboom told the publication that, in the past, insurers have been quick to settle unfair practice claims because they didn't want to risk having to pay the hefty fines associated with them. He said the ruling should give insurers more leverage and shows that the Department of Insurance had been using improper procedures when it came to determining unfair acts.
“Notwithstanding that the judge says this is particular to the Torchmark case, what he said throughout [the ruling] resonates,” Hogeboom said. “It resonates to the industry, and it should resonate to the department.”