California law presently provides for a limited exemption from discovery for a request for a document filed pursuant to the California Holding Company Act. This exemption applies to documents and information reported to the Insurance Commissioner in registration statements or obtained by or disclosed to the Insurance Commissioner in the course of an examination or investigation. The present exemption only applies to requests made pursuant to the California Public Records Act (CPRA) and from using the statements in civil litigation.
On September 19, 2014, AB 1234 was approved to clarify the law on the regulation of insurance holding companies and to ensure that California law and practice is in line with the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) model Holding Company Act.
Starting January 1, 2015, the amended Section 1215.8 will broaden the exemption from public disclosure to prohibit (1) discovery from the commissioner and (2) admissibility into evidence in any private civil action if obtained from the Insurance Commissioner in any manner.
It must be noted however, these protections only apply to materials obtained by the Insurance Commissioner pursuant to the California Holding Company Act. This amended Section will not affect the ability of a litigant to obtain information or documents through the normal discovery process.