Arizona — Insurance Taxes
Arizona House Republican Majority Whip Rep. David Livingston wants the insurance tax cuts passed by the Legislature last year to be put into effect much more quickly. This year the cut will be $1.3 million and it will rise each year until the amount reaches $35 million by 2026.
That’s not fast enough for Livingston. He wants that time cut in half and his bill to accomplish that has passed out of the House Insurance Committee.
Source link: Insurance Journal
California — Wildfires & Insurance
The two wildfires in Northern California in September of last year burned 200 square miles, killed six people and caused thousands of people to leave their homes.
Estimates from the California Insurance Department say insurers are on the hook for over $1 billion in damages from those fires. The first fire in Lake county destroyed 2,000 structures — of that 1,300 were homes — and killed four people. It’s price tag is $700 million. A second fire a couple of days later in Amador and Calaveras counties burned 800 buildings and caused $300 million in losses.
California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones called this and other fires, “A year-round fire season is California's new reality. Residents and communities, especially those in high-risk fire areas, must take precautions now before the next devastating wildfire strikes."
Source link: Insurance Business America
California — Insurance and Coal
This came to Weekly Industry News from the California Department of Insurance.
California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones asked all insurance companies doing business in California to voluntarily divest from their investments in thermal coal. Complying with this request would include making no new investments, not renewing any existing investments and selling or withdrawing from existing investments in thermal coal.
Commissioner Jones also announced that in April of this year he will initiate a data call that requires insurance companies to disclose annually their carbon-based investments including those in oil, gas and coal. These required financial disclosures will be made public and will be used by the Department of Insurance to assess the degree of financial risk posed to insurance companies by their investments in the carbon-based economy.
Commissioner Jones is the first insurance regulator in the nation to call on insurance companies to divest from thermal coal. Jones is also the first to announce that he will require insurance companies to provide detailed and public disclosures of their investments in the carbon economy.
California — Rideshare Wrap Up
California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones said he has approved Mercury Insurance’s new insurance product for Transportation Network Companies (TNC’s). “As demand for ride-hailing services continue to increase, making sure drivers are able to obtain insurance to protect themselves, their passengers and pedestrians is a top priority. We are pleased to see Mercury Insurance, one of the state's largest insurers, offer this type of coverage,” Jones said.
He is encouraging other insurers to develop similar products because many of these drivers are without coverage.
The rideshare firm Lyft — in the meantime — has agreed to pay $12.25 million to drivers to settle an unfair treatment claim and says it will no longer just terminate drivers at will but will give reasons for that termination.
Terminated drivers will receive payment based on the number of hours they drove for Lyft.
The company is happy with the settlement but some former drivers are not. The suit argued the drivers are employees not contractors and are entitled to minimum wages, getting expenses reimbursed, over time and other benefits.
Lyft competitor Uber did not settle. It lost a push to have the case dropped and in June a trial will start over similar driver claims. More than 100,000 drivers are involved in the class action suit.
Source links: PropertyCasualty360.com and Carrier Management
Idaho — Department of Insurance Legislative Agenda
This came to Weekly Industry News from the Idaho Department of Insurance.
The Idaho Legislature is in session as of January 11, 2016. The Department of Insurance has three pending rules and will propose one piece of legislation.
The proposed legislation makes three changes to insurance producer licensing:
1. Provides additional circumstances for termination of a nonresident license where the resident license has terminated in their home state.
2. Allows that a producer whose license was revoked may be prohibited from reapplication for one to five years.
3. Requires that an applicant whose producer licensing application was denied must wait at least one year before reapplying.
• Pertaining to self-funded employee health care plans – Seeks to amend Rule 27 to conform to code changes which provide additional clarity and remove some unnecessary language.
• Pertaining to schedule of fees, licenses and miscellaneous charges – This proposed rule seeks to amend the Department’s fee rule: 1. Removes a fixed licensing exam fee of $60 as applicants will pay the examiner directly. 2. Adds a licensing/renewal fee for public adjusters of $80 as per Idaho Code. 3. Clarifies that registration of self-funded student health plans is subject to the licensing/renewal $500 fee just like self-funded employer plans subject to registration. 4. Cleans up outdated and unnecessary language.
• Pertaining to long term care minimum standards – This rule clarifies and modifies the minimum inflation protection applicable to long term care partnership policies. The requirement was originally 5%, the new rule only requires the inclusion of an inflation rider and does not specify the rate.
Oregon — Moda Health Troubles
This came to Weekly Industry News from the Oregon Department of Insurance.
The Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services, Division of Financial Regulation announced that it has issued an order of supervision to Moda Health Plan, Inc., because of concerns over its financial condition. At the same time, the department will begin working with Moda to transfer its individual market plans to another carrier.
An order of supervision allows the department to have a representative on site and in control of all financial decisions to ensure that consumers are protected. The order prohibits Moda from issuing new policies or renewing current policies in the individual market, and from adding new groups. The order also requires the company to obtain sufficient capital and present a business plan to DCBS that clearly demonstrates that it can operate in sound financial condition going forward. The supervision order is available at http://www.cbs.state.or.us/external/ins/admin_actions/actions_2016/insurer_2016/financial_2016/other_2016/16-13-001.pdf.
The department took this action because of Moda’s excessive operating losses and inadequate capital and surplus. Capital and surplus is the amount a company’s assets exceed its liabilities. The required minimum increases as the company assumes more insurance risk.
“Our primary goal is to ensure consumers are protected,” said Patrick Allen, director of the Department of Consumer and Business Services. “We will continue to work closely with the company to find a sustainable path going forward while minimizing risk to consumers.”
Moda’s insurance policies may still appear on HealthCare.gov through the end of open enrollment, Sunday, Jan. 31. DCBS advises consumers still shopping for plans to choose a carrier other than Moda. In the event that Oregonians already enrolled with Moda need to switch plans, there will be a special enrollment period. In the meantime, Moda policyholders can continue to access medical services and get their claims paid.
DCBS, which also runs the Oregon Health Insurance Marketplace, will keep Moda customers apprised of new developments and actions they may need to take.
As of Sept. 30, 2015, Moda enrolled a total of about 244,000 Oregonians in the commercial market, including 95,000 in the individual market, 16,000 in the small group market, and 129,000 in the large group market. Moda also has members in the associations and trusts market.
Eastern Oregon CCO, which serves Oregon Medicaid members and is owned by Moda, serves 48,000 Medicaid members. No one on Medicaid is losing coverage.
The Oregon Health Authority is also working with the Public Employees’ Benefit Board and Oregon Educators Benefit Board partners to minimize any potential impacts to their members. There are 1,100 PEBB members and 42,000 OEBB members enrolled in Moda health plans.
Consumers with questions should call the DCBS Division of Financial Regulation’s consumer advocates at 1-888-877-4894 (toll-free). Staff will be available to answer calls until 8 p.m. More information can be found on the division’s website at http://www.oregon.gov/DCBS/Insurance/insurers/regulation/Pages/moda-faqs.aspx.
Washington — DOI Re-Numbering Project
The Washington Department of Insurance is working on re-numbering insurance sections of Washington law.
In step 1 of this process OIC filed a letter to re-number all the existing (and continuing) sections of WAC Chapters 284-43 and 284-170. The result placed all sections from both chapters in WAC 284-43.
Now, in step 2 of the process, OIC has filed a CR-105 which will move sub-chapters B (Health Care Networks) and C (Provider Contracts and Payment) to be the primary sections of WAC Chapter 284-170. As part of this move OIC also set up a sub-chapter A (General Provisions) in WAC Chapter 284-170; this new sub-chapter A is an exact copy of sub-chapter A in WAC 284-43 and is necessary for providing the underlying conditions, definitions and purpose for sub-chapters B & C that existed for them in Chapter 284-43.
No rules have changed in this filing—just their WAC location. The web page for this new filing can be viewed by clicking R2016-01.
A crosswalk for this set of section moves is also provided and you can see it by clicking here.
If you object to the use of the expedited rule-making process you must express our objections in writing to firstname.lastname@example.org. If no objections are received by OIC regarding this CR105 filing by March 22, we will file the CR103 to implement them.
The next and final step in this renumbering process will be a filing to correct all affected cross-references. Our office anticipates making that filing in late April\early May.