California — Insurance Department & Consumers: This was sent to Weekly Industry News by the California Department of Insurance.
Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones announced today the California Department of Insurance recovered more than $81.3 million for consumers during 2017 through consumer complaint investigations and market conduct examinations of insurance companies.
"As insurance commissioner and the leader of the largest consumer protection agency in the state, my top priority is protecting consumers," said Commissioner Jones. "Thanks to the hard work of our dedicated professionals and the authority given to me under Proposition 103, we succeeded in recovering over $81 million for California consumers."
Last year the department's consumer hotline received over 147,000 calls for assistance. Through the department's complaint handling efforts, staff recovered more than $62.4 million for consumers in 2017. Additionally, the department performed 125 market conduct examinations, resulting in more than $18.9 million in recovered claims or premiums being returned to consumers.
Since Commissioner Jones took office in 2011, more than $469 million has been returned to consumers through the department's direct intervention.
Due to Proposition 103, in 2017 the department also saved consumers over $271 million in proposed insurance rate increases. Since 2003, $3.7 billion in proposed insurance rate increases has been saved by policyholders.
Proposition 103, passed by California voters in November 1988, establishes the Insurance Commissioner's authority to approve rates set by insurance companies. It requires the commissioner's "prior approval" before insurance companies can implement property and casualty insurance rates. The ballot measure also required each insurer to roll back its rates 20 percent.
Idaho — Reward offered for information regarding arson fire in Burley: The Idaho State Fire Marshal’s Office, in cooperation with the Burley Fire Department, Cassia County Sheriff’s Office, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives is offering a reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for a fire that occurred in Burley, Idaho.
The fire, reported to 911, was at a vacant building located at 1220 Overland Avenue in the early morning hours of January 29, 2018. During extinguishment an undetonated explosive device was found by firefighters, attached to a second building, across from the fire scene. This device was removed and made safe by technicians from the Twin Falls Police Department.
Arson PosterAn investigation to determine the origin and cause of the fire was conducted by investigators from the Idaho State Fire Marshal’s Office and other agencies. The investigation uncovered evidence that the building was intentionally set ablaze.
We urge anyone with information to contact the arson hotline at 1(877) 75-ARSON. Your information could make you eligible for a reward of up to $5,000. The Arson Reward Fund is supported by the Northwest Insurance Council in cooperation with the Idaho State Fire Marshal’s Office and Idaho Department of Insurance.
Idaho — Idahoans find lost life insurance policies using NAIC locator: Since its launch in 2016, thousands of U.S. consumers have reaped the benefits of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners' (NAIC) Life Insurance Policy Locator. As of November of 2017, the consumer tool had matched 8,210 beneficiaries with lost or misplaced life insurance policies or annuities – totaling $92.5 million returned to consumers. 235 searches were submitted for lost Idaho policies and of those, 61 policies were located, with a total of $279,521 in life insurance death benefits.
Nationwide, more than 40,000 consumers have conducted searches since the policy locator was launched. The NAIC developed the locator in 2016 to provide search capabilities to help find lost life insurance policies and annuities.
"This tool gives consumers the means to easily search for lost life insurance policies and provides families with a genuine time-saving option when trying to get their financial affairs in order," said Idaho Department of Insurance Director Dean Cameron. "This locator leverages NAIC technology to help consumers collect what was promised by insurance contracts."
How it works:
• Beneficiaries, executors, or legal representatives of a deceased person may submit a search request form to the NAIC – the Idaho Department of Insurance website has a link to the form.
• Information needed to complete the form can be found on a certified death certificate for the deceased. Bank statements and safety deposit boxes may also provide needed information.
• The form contains some required fields – if the required information is not entered, the request cannot be submitted.
• The NAIC then asks participating companies to search their records to determine whether they have a life insurance policy or annuity contract in the name of the deceased.
• Participating companies that have policy information are asked to respond to the requester if the requester is the designated beneficiary or is authorized to receive information – this may take up to 90 business days.
• This service is free to consumers; neither insurance companies nor agents should assess a fee to users.
The Idaho Department of Insurance can help consumers who need additional assistance to resolve an issue with an insurance company. For questions about this or other insurance-related issues, consumers are encouraged to contact the Department by visiting www.doi.idaho.gov or by calling 334-4250 in the Boise area or 800-721-3272 toll-free statewide.
Oregon — Rule Adopted: The Oregon Division of Financial Regulation recently adopted the following rule:
ID 01-2018: Primary Care Spending Reporting Requirements
Amend: OAR 836-053-0473
Amended to include primary care spending reporting requirements.
Filed: January 30, 2018
Effective: February 1, 2018
Permanent Administrative Order — http://dfr.oregon.gov/laws-rules/Documents/id01-2018_rule-order.pdf
Washington — Geographic rating area proposed rule posted: We have released the proposed rule language on R 2017-11. The rule will revise the current geographic rating areas for individual and small-group health plans as established in WAC 284-43-6680 and 284-43-6700 in order to more accurately reflect the current risk pool.
We scheduled a public hearing on the rule:
When: March 12, 2018, at 12:00 p.m.
Where: 5000 Capitol Blvd SE, Tumwater.
Comments on the proposed rule language are due March 14, 2018; please send them to email@example.com.
For more information, including the proposed rule language (CR-102), please visit the rule's webpage: https://www.insurance.wa.gov/adjusting-geographic-rating-areas-increase-market-stability-r-2017-11?utm_content=&utm_medium=email&utm_name=&utm_source=govdelivery&utm_term=