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Around the PIA Western Alliance States

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, March 13, 2018

California — Insurance Commissioner Race: Several individuals running for California Insurance Commissioner will vie for the runoff in the primary that is three months away. Two have the best shot at the position. They are former insurance commissioner Steve Poizner and Democratic state Senator Ricardo Lara.

Experts say the two have the best shot. Even though Poizner left the Republican Party and is now an Independent, the odds favor Lara since he’s a Democrat

Others who have filed are:

Nathalie Hrizi who is a school teacher librarian and is running in the Peace and Freedom Party

Peter Kuo is a former insurance agent and entrepreneur who is running as a Republican

Asif Mahmood is a doctor running as a Democrat

Henry Perea is a former Assemblyman and is running as a Democrat

Source link: Insurance Journal


California — From the California Department of Insurance: Diversity Summit

Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones hosted the first governing board diversity summit by bringing together insurance company CEOs and leadership executives who can impact change and lead the industry toward broader diversity at the board level. The event took place on Friday, March 2, 2018 with a select group of attendees joining from across the country and London.

The summit kicked off with a presentation by Vivian Hunt, Managing Partner of McKinsey & Company and author of the world-renowned Diversity Matters report, about their latest sequel released in January 2018 highlighting how to take action on inclusion and diversity to impact growth and business performance. In the expanded dataset, the link between profitability and diversity on top teams continue to be statistically significant and even stronger. Companies in the top quartile for gender diversity were 21 percent more likely to outperform on profitability, whereas those in the top quartile for ethnic diversity were 33 percent more likely to have industry-leading profitability.

Following the presentation, Alliance for Board Diversity Chair Linda Akutagawa moderated a panel featuring Ms. Hunt of McKinsey, Patrick Prout of executive search firm ZRG Partners, and two insurance company executives who shared their perspectives on board diversity. CSAA Insurance Group Board member and diversity trailblazer Ken Coleman capped off the summit by facilitating a candid conversation among invitees regarding the challenges and successes of board diversity within their respective companies, as well as recommendations for action. With the Chatham House Rule applied to foster open and free discussion, companies and individuals may not be identified.

"Since I launched the California Insurance Diversity Initiative in 2011, we have seen a major increase in insurer procurement from diverse suppliers," said Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones. "Today's Insurer Governing Board Diversity summit was held to allow industry leaders an opportunity to share ideas and best practices with regard to increasing the diversity of governing boards. I commend those insurers who are leaders in the area of governing board diversity and those insurers who are increasing their efforts in this regard."

Commissioner Jones established the Insurance Diversity Initiative in 2011 in an effort to focus on diversity issues within California's $289 billion insurance industry to encourage increased procurement from California's diverse suppliers and diversity among insurer governing boards.

The 2014 Governing Board Diversity Survey is the first-in-the-nation focused on the state of diversity among insurer governing boards. It is meant to encourage insurance companies to seek a leadership and a board that reflects the changing demographics and diversity in California and across the nation.

In 2016, Commissioner Jones and insurance commissioners across six states established the Multistate Insurance Diversity Survey Initiative to understand the state of supplier and governing board diversity among the nation's now $1.84 trillion insurance industry. Through transparency, these efforts aim to increase more diversity on insurer governing boards, encourage economic opportunities, and increase procurement from the nation's diverse suppliers.


New private flood insurance offers consumers more choice

California homeowners and renters now have more options to protect themselves from the financial devastation caused by a flooding with Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones' approval of a new private flood insurance product provided by American National Property and Casualty Company.

"Flood insurance may be the only product that stands between you and a crippling financial loss," said Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones. "California communities have been ravaged by historic floods. I urge consumers to consider flood insurance to protect their most valuable assets."

American National's flood insurance program is a new entry into the private flood insurance market in California and does not replace the National Flood Insurance Program, which currently provides the majority of flood coverage written in the state.

This new residential private flood insurance program offers consumers a number of coverage features, including residential building property, personal property or contents, debris removal, and additional living expenses (ALE) or lost rents. The policy term is 12 months.

"Providing consumers with more choices may lead more residents to consider flood coverage," added Jones. "Many areas of California are subject to flooding from severe storms or heavy rains. I encourage more insurers to consider entering this market."

Last October the department approved a private flood insurance product by Homeowners Choice Property and Casualty Insurance Company. Homeowners Choice also covers residential building property, personal property or contents, debris removal, and ALE. The company is offering limited policies to homeowners and renters whose properties have had no flood claims in the last six years.

Commissioner Jones encourages consumers to prepare for potential disaster by using their smart phone to record a home inventory, catalog their belongings and store them in their cloud account. Residents should also consider scanning deeds, insurance policies and other important documents and store them in their cloud for easy access.

The department has a number of resources to help consumers with insurance coverage or claim questions. Consumers with questions or needing assistance should call the consumer hotline at



Insolvency risk leads to Cease & Desist Order against Access Insurance Company

Insurance Commissioner Jones issued a Cease and Desist Order against Access Insurance Company, which requires the company to immediately stop transacting, soliciting, negotiating, or administering and writing any new or renewal insurance business of any kind in the state of California.

The Order alleges the company is conducting business in a manner that threatens to render it insolvent or in a financially hazardous condition in violation of the California Insurance Code.

"I have taken this action to protect consumers from buying insurance from a company unable to demonstrate it has the assets and capital to sustain its business as an insurer," said Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones. "As insurance commissioner, my first priority is protecting consumers and the integrity of the insurance marketplace-that includes making sure insurers are able to deliver on their promises to consumers."

The commissioner's action followed Access's Statutory Income Statement 2017 Preliminary (unaudited), which showed its policyholder surplus was negative $27.6 million as of December 31, 2017, and its Statutory Income statement 2018 Preliminary (unaudited) report noted its policyholder surplus was a negative $29 million as of January 31, 2018, and after the company also failed to file its required yearly statutory statement.

Access Insurance Company's unaudited financial reports indicated the company failed to maintain the capital required by law and the insurance commissioner is authorized to place Access Insurance Company under regulatory control, which could result in the company being subject to conservation or liquidation proceedings. Irreparable loss and injury to the property and business of the company has occurred or may occur unless the commissioner acted immediately to correct, eliminate, and remedy such conduct and conditions.

Montana — Work Comp Rate Decrease: Montana Insurance Commissioner Matt Rosendale said okay to a drop of 10.7% in the Montana workers’ compensation loss cost rate. The decrease was filed by the National council on Compensation Insurance and takes effect on July 1st.

“This is the biggest decrease we’ve seen in seven years,” Rosendale said.

This rate will be used by both private workers’ compensation insurers and by the Montana State Fund.

Source link: Business Insurance


Montana — Asbestos Suit: Montana District Judge Holly Brown said National Indemnity is liable for the $43 million asbestos settlement between the state and people whose health was impacted by exposure to the substance at the Libby vermiculite mine.

The company paid $16 million in 2009 but shortly after sued to recover the money. That — the judge said — means the company breached its duty to defend the state against damages from the claims and now owes $43 million.

The state has no comment and neither does National Indemnity since the case is ongoing.

Source link: Insurance Journal


Oregon — From the Oregon Department of Insurance: State recovers $3.4 million for Oregon insurance consumers

The Oregon Division of Financial Regulation investigated more than 4,000 insurance complaint cases and recovered more than $3.4 million for Oregonians in 2017. Money recovered for insurance consumers typically comes from disputed settlements and underpaid claims.

Claim denials and delays topped the list of reasons consumers filed complaints. Denials and delays accounted for more than 30 percent of all insurance complaints. The two types of insurance that received the most complaints were health insurance (36 percent) and auto insurance (30 percent). Approximately 75 percent of recovered insurance money came from life and health insurance claims.

“Helping consumers understand their policies and making sure they receive the money they are owed is one of the most gratifying and important parts of our jobs,” said Andrew Stolfi, Oregon insurance commissioner. “We want consumers to contact us anytime they have questions or concerns about their insurance or financial products.”

If you have any problems with an insurance or financial product contact the division, part of the Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services. The division’s advocacy team can help with a wide range of consumer questions and concerns, such as claim delays, unreasonable settlement offers, and unfair loan terms.

Oregonians with questions or concerns about their insurance or financial products are encouraged to contact our advocates one of three ways:

Call the advocacy team at 888-877-4894 (toll-free)

Visit http://dfr.oregon.gov/gethelp/Pages/file-a-complaint.aspx

Email cp.ins@oregon.gov


Washington — From the Office of the Insurance Commissioner: Rule Making

Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler announced his intention to begin rule-making to create protections for Washington consumers who buy short-term medical plans. He is taking this action in response to the recent rules the Trump administration proposed to increase the duration of short-term medical plans from 90 days to up to 364 days.

In a statement last week, Kreidler shared his concerns about short-term medical plans:

“Allowing short-term medical plans to infiltrate our health insurance markets is not the panacea the Trump Administration promises. It’s just one more devastating step in dismantling the consumer protections we’ve come to rely on. Short-term medical plans may sound good to those who do not understand how health insurance works. The promise of lower premiums and fewer mandatory benefits may be appealing, but here’s what’s left in the small print – they also offer little protection if you get sick and need comprehensive care.”

Under state law (www.leg.wa.gov), short-term medical plans are exempt from the definition of a health plan and only can be sold if approved by the insurance commissioner. Kreidler intends to use the rule-making process to set perimeters for this type of coverage to ensure that consumers are protected and Washington’s individual health insurance market is not undermined.

Currently, short-term medical plans are exempt from protections provided by the Affordable Care Act. These plans can deny coverage for pre-existing conditions, are not required to include essential health benefits such as prescription drugs, mental health services, and maternity, and they can cap lifetime limits.

Kreidler encourages consumers and other stakeholders to participate in the rule-making process, which begins today and will continue over the next several months.

“I seriously question the president’s misguided belief that the only way to provide less expensive health insurance is to do so at the expense of those of us unlucky enough to get sick or who have a health condition,” Kreidler said. “I will use my authority to prevent these skinny plans from destabilizing Washington’s health insurance market.”


Notice of rulemaking on short-term medical plans

We are starting rulemaking (R 2018-01) in preparation of a federal executive order and rulemaking on short-term medical plans, which are anticipated to result in the need to clarify the Office of the Insurance Commissioner's process and standards for the filing of short-term medical plans for sale to Washington consumers.

Comments are due March 22, 2018; please send them to rulescoordinator@oic.wa.gov.

For more information, including the notice to start rulemaking (CR-101), please visit the rule's webpage: https://www.insurance.wa.gov/short-term-medical-plans-r-2018-01?utm_content=&utm_medium=email&utm_name=&utm_source=govdelivery&utm_term=

Tags:  Around the PIA Western Alliance States  Insurance Content  Insurance Industry  Insurance News  Weekly Industry News 

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