The Property and Casualty Division is comprised of both a Rates and Forms Review Unit and a Complaints Unit.
By law, all insurance companies that sell property, casualty, surety, mortgage guaranty, or title insurance, are required to file with the Commissioner all policy forms, endorsements, rates, rating plans, rating rules and amendments to these items. The Rates and Forms Review Unit reviews these filings to determine compliance with the Insurance Article and regulations. All policy forms require the Commissioner's approval before they can be used (Prior Approval). Rates require prior approval in some lines, but not in most lines.
The Insurance Reform Act of 1995 (Competitive Rating) authorized insurers to use rates for most lines of insurance without prior approval of the Commissioner. Those lines are presumed to be within a competitive market. The goal of the Act was to permit insurers in those lines to provide rates that are responsive to competitive market conditions and to improve the availability of insurance in the State. Lines of insurance excluded from the ACT, i.e., lines that need prior approval by the Commissioner are surety, title, medical malpractice, and insurance provided by the Maryland Automobile Insurance Fund (MAIF). Because no approval is granted for rates in competitive lines (File and Use), the insurer may begin using the rates as soon as they are filed with the Insurance Administration. The rates charged for homeowners and private passenger automobile insurance are examples of file and use lines of insurance.
Maryland law requires that all rates, rating plans, and rating rules used in the State not be excessive, inadequate, or unfairly discriminatory. Prior approval rates may not be used until a filing is reviewed to determine compliance with the law. However, an insurer submitting file and use rates may use those rates until a hearing is held to determine compliance.
In addition, the Property & Casualty Complaint Unit is primarily responsible for investigating property and casualty insurance complaints filed by consumers. For more information about the activities of this section, refer to: