Allstate to cease non-English insurance sales in Colorado

Allstate to cease non-English insurance sales in Colorado

Allstate to cease non-English insurance sales in Colorado | Insurance Business America

Insurer issues memo to agents in response to new language translation requirements

Allstate to cease non-English insurance sales in Colorado

Insurance News

Mika Pangilinan

Allstate has asked its agents in Colorado to conduct business exclusively in English after legislators passed a bill imposing language translation requirements for insurance companies.

Colorado’s House Bill 23-1004 is slated to take effect in the new year and requires insurance companies to furnish policy documents in the language they use for advertising.

“You are only authorized to advertise, prospect, quote or sell property and casualty policies on behalf of Allstate in English,” the insurance giant said in the memo dated December 8. “This activity in any other language on behalf of Allstate is no longer authorized.”

As part of this move, Allstate said it will discontinue the Spanish versions of its agency websites, as well as automated Spanish options for phone calls.

But Representative Elizabeth Velasco, one of the bill’s authors, said such a decision runs contrary to what they originally intended with the legislation.

According to census data from 2022, some 16% of Colorado residents speak a language other than English at home. Meanwhile, Allstate accounts for about 4% of the state’s property and casualty insurance market share, as indicated by figures from the Colorado Division of Insurance (DOI).

Carole Walker, executive director of the Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association (RMIIA), said it would be extremely difficult for insurers to translate all necessary documents by the time the bill takes effect on January 1, 2024.

“It’s a case of hurting the people that the legislation tried to help by setting an impossible legal bar,” she told Colorado Newsline, emphasizing how insurance companies would need a more realistic timeline to implement a major change.

According to Walker, translating policy documents into Spanish alone could take up to two to four years. And because insurance contracts are often complex no matter what language they’re written in, most consumers turn to agents to understand the particularities of their coverage anyway.

“There is no proven harm that we know right now,” she said further. “People who speak other languages are getting served.”

In October, the DOI issued emergency regulation to clarify that customer service representatives speaking languages other than English or displaying signage in another language do not constitute advertisements under the bill.

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