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Alert: California Legislature Proposes AB 933 to Change DMV MVR Requirements

On February 26, 2015, the California Legislature introduced Assembly Bill AB 933, which would require the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to permit insurance broker-agents to submit motor vehicle records (MVRs) to insurance companies. Under AB 933, the DMV would not be allowed to prohibit “an insurance agent or broker from obtaining and distributing to an insurance company or to any policyholder of either a private passenger automobile liability policy or a commercial automobile liability policy any record or information that is open to public inspection.”

This proposed legislation is a reaction to the DMV’s Addendum of its Commercial Requester Agreement (“Addendum”) that purported to ease regulatory requirements regarding submission of customer MVR information to insurers, but instead added unnecessary burdens on broker-agents and consumers. Section A.1 of the Addendum mandates that the broker-agent must obtain “written” permission of the “client” before sharing the MVR with insurers. This is problematic, particularly since California Vehicle Code § 1808.45 only requires authorization to disclose the MVR, not “written” authorization. Section A.3 of the Addendum again goes beyond industry practice, holding the broker-agent responsible for the negligent, improper, or unauthorized use or dissemination of the MVR by insurers. Hence, a broker-agent could be found liable for the conduct of the insurer with respect to the MVR. Section A.4 imposes an unnecessary and unreasonable obligation on the broker-agent to bear responsibility for all costs associated with notice to California residents “potentially affected by a breach of the security system, database or files” of an insurer receiving the MVR. 

AB 933 is being sponsored by the Independent Agents and Brokers of California (IIABCAL) and would direct the DMV to utilize MVRs without the threat of expense or liability that this Addendum has imposed.  

To View AB 933, click here.

This article is not offered as, and should not be relied on as, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for advice in specific situations.