Ditch the Pitch
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The Advocacy Division provides legal representation for the consumer interest in matters involving property and casualty insurance (auto), worker's compensation insurance and utilities. As the state agency designated to represent the interests of consumers, the Advocacy Division aims to ensure that increases in rates are justified, working to avoid excessive, inadequate or unwarranted rate increases. When needed, an action is filed and the Division submits evidence in hearings that demonstrate the rate request is not justified and often results in adjudications or settlements that generate savings for consumers and businesses alike. The Division also reviews rules and regulations proposed by state and federal agencies pertaining to rate-making or consumer products, goods and services, providing comments as deemed appropriate, and participates in various committees, including the State Health Planning Committee.
The Administrator may serve in the role of Consumer Advocate or appoint someone for the position. Traditionally, the Administrator serves in this dual capacity. Carri Grube Lybarker was appointed Administrator of SCDCA in 2011 and assumed the Consumer Advocate role in 2014 when the Deputy Consumer Advocate appointed by her predecessor (a non-attorney) left the agency.
Act 644 of 1978 amended the Consumer Protection Code to create the Division of Consumer Advocacy as a part of the Department of Consumer Affairs. The Advocacy Division was originally established to represent consumers at large before state and federal regulatory agencies that set rates, including for milk and utilities. Changes to the law from 1980 forward expanded the Division’s responsibilities to include the analysis of workers’ compensation, homeowners, auto and other insurance filings. The Consumer Advocate has participated in several insurance, worker's compensation and ratemaking proceedings in its history, garnering more than $2.9 billion in savings for businesses and consumers alike. The Consumer Advocate actively participated in many matters before the Public Service Commission from 1978 until the responsibility to intervene in utility rate filings was removed by 2004 Act No. 175. Act 258 of 2018 effective July 12, 2018 restored this role to the Department.
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