The California Department of Insurance is taking legal action against Go Maps, Inc., and its insurance underwriter, Topa Insurance Company, after an investigation found the app-based insurance seller mishandled consumer claims for more than two dozen drivers. Under the orders to show cause, both Go Maps, Inc. (Go Maps) and Topa Insurance Company (Topa) could be ordered to cease and desist selling insurance and pay financial penalties.
Go Maps is an “insurtech” company that uses an app-based marketing platform to sell and transact its insurance business for Topa, an insurance company licensed by the Department. Insurtech companies and insurance companies that use them to market and manage their products must both follow California consumer protection laws and have the insurance expertise and licensed individuals in place to properly transact insurance in this state.
The Department is taking this action in order to protect the public from further harm caused by Go Maps and Topa repeatedly violating various consumer protection laws relating to insurance claims. The Department’s investigation is ongoing, and consumers who have experienced problems with Go Maps are urged to contact the Department’s Consumer Services Hotline at 800-927-4357 or through insurance.ca.gov for assistance.
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. The Go Maps/Topa program has more than 10,000 California customers representing the vast majority of its approximately 12,000 policies nationwide.
Go Maps’ and Topa’s alleged failures to follow California’s existing consumer protection rules forced drivers to pay for rental car expenses and other costs while their insurance claims were delayed, among other alleged violations such as:
- Failing 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.
- Failing 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.
- Failing 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.
- Failing 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 32 days beyond the legal 40-days deadline.
- Hiring an unlicensed insurance adjusting firm to adjust claims.
The Department alleges that Go Maps’ and Topa’s actions constitute a “general business practice” of unfair claims settlement practices that may have affected additional policyholders and claimants who were involved in accidents with Go Maps/Topa policyholders.
If the Department’s allegations are sustained, Go Maps could face revocation or suspension of its license to transact insurance and Topa could face suspension of its Certificate of Authority with the Department. The companies could face a fine of of up to $5,000 for each deceptive or unfair act, or up to $10,000 for each act if committed willfully.
Current Go Maps/Topa customers who have complaints about the handling of their claims, underwriting, or other policy servicing should also contact the Department at 800-927-4357 or through our website for assistance.
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