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Around the PIA Western Alliance States

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, April 11, 2017

California — Castle Rock Liquidation
Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones announced that CastlePoint National Insurance Company (CastlePoint), the California insurance company affiliate of the defunct Tower Group, has been ordered into formal liquidation, paving the way for protection of CastlePoint's policyholders through the national system of insurance guaranty associations. The filing on March 30, 2017, of an Order of Liquidation by the San Francisco Superior Court was the final judicial stage of a meticulously planned and complex process of winding up a group of financially impaired insurers that wrote insurance across the country.

The Commissioner started the process in January 2016 when he took the lead in convincing insurance commissioners in six other states to redomicile all of the insurers within the Tower Insurance Group to California so that the companies could be consolidated into CastlePoint National to achieve an orderly conservation and liquidation of the companies. In July, the commissioner implemented the second phase of the plan, by asking the Court to order CastlePoint into conservation and appoint him as Conservator of the company. As Conservator, the Commissioner developed and implemented a multi-stage Conservation & Liquidation Plan that infused $200 million in liquid assets into CastlePoint and locked in the resources required to ensure the uninterrupted administration and payment of CastlePoint's policyholder claims during the conservation phase. The final phase of the plan is the entry of a liquidation order.

"The liquidation order for CastlePoint was an essential step in our efforts to protect CastlePoint's policyholders across the country," said Commissioner Jones. "The order triggers the legal obligation of the national network of insurance guaranty associations to step up to pay CastlePoint's insurance claims in a timely and fair manner. It's never good when an insurance company fails, but through careful planning and execution we have provided CastlePoint's policyholders with the maximum protection available under the law."

All CastlePoint claims continued to be adjusted and paid throughout the eight-month conservation phase of this process. During the final stage of conservation, the Commissioner prepared for a seamless transition into liquidation by arranging for pre-funding of all workers' compensation indemnity (or wage replacement) benefits for the next 60 to 90 days. This pre-funding process ensures that there will be no interruption or avoidable delay in payments to the many injured workers who are relying on CastlePoint for the financial means to survive while they recover from workplace injuries.

"The protection of injured workers was one of my primary objectives in this conservation," added Commissioner Jones. "Workers who get injured on the job should be confident that they will be covered by their employer's workers' compensation insurance, even if the insurer fails." 


California State Fund 2016 Report
The California State Compensation Insurance Fund’s 2016 annual report is out. It says in 2016:

  The fund had a net income of $192 million

  128,000 policies were written in 2016

  Earned net premiums hit $1.5 billion

  The policyholders’ surplus grew by $156 million from December 31, 2015 to the end of 2016

  Net investment income is $627 million

Vern Steiner is the fund’s CEO and he said, “Last year marked another year of healthy competition in the California workers’ compensation market. We were pleased to introduce a rate filing that included an overall decrease in collectable premium of 9.5 percent as well as an expanded pricing model, which further enhances pricing accuracy and makes our rates more stable year over year.”

Source link: Insurance Journal


Idaho — Insurance Department Spring Maintenance Tips
Spring is officially here, and it’s time to start on those home maintenance projects. The Idaho Department of Insurance encourages homeowners to inspect in and around homes for wear and tear from this year’s harsh winter. Improperly maintained homes can lead to expensive repairs down the road, and many of those repairs are not covered by a standard homeowners’ insurance policy.

“The purpose of homeowners’ insurance is to help you recover from sudden and accidental losses such as fire, windstorm, theft, or a broken water pipe,” said Department Director Dean Cameron. “But damage that results from maintenance-related issues, like water damage from a leaky roof or a cracked foundation may not be covered, as most policies say the policyholder is responsible for conducting regular preventive maintenance.”

The Department shares the following tips from Northwest Insurance Council to help you conduct home exterior maintenance and reduce safety hazards:

  Check and clean gutters to prevent water from backing up into your attic.

  Check the roof. Look for worn, curled, or missing shingles and replace them.

  Repair loose or damaged siding and soffits.

  Make sure downspouts slope away from the home and carry water at least five feet from the foundation walls.

  Have a professional inspect your heating/air conditioning system annually.

  Make sure sprinkler heads are directed away from the house to prevent water build-up near foundation walls.

  Remove clutter from storage areas to reduce fire hazards.

  Examine decks, porches, and balconies for weak or broken railings and posts. Railings should be spaced no more than four inches apart to prevent children from slipping through.

  Caulk and reseal window and door flashing, seals, or weather stripping.

  Check the attic for moisture and surface discoloration.

  Check fire extinguishers in your kitchen and garage to make sure they are full.

  Install outlets equipped with ground-fault circuit interrupters when outdoor electrical outlets are located near water sources.

  Be sure exterior walls are well-painted and sealed.

  Inspect your lawn for rocks or other objects that could be launched from your lawnmower and injure others or damage property.

  Contact your insurance company or agent to review your homeowners’ policy to be sure you have the coverage you need, as home values and repair costs increase over time.

  If damage is found that requires hiring a contractor, be sure to use only licensed, bonded, and insured building contractors, and be sure they get the proper building permits.

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 800-721-3271 toll-free statewide.


Oregon — PIA Oregon Opposes SB 810
This is testimony given by the PIA Oregon on SB 810.

The Professional Insurance Agents of Oregon feels SB 810 is totally unnecessary since the private market already has a HSA delivery system that enjoy both Federal and State tax exemptions.

Typically, these policies are purchased by people who are healthy and do not need frequent medical care.  The enrollee age demographic is diverse covering the whole age spectrum.

The insurance companies offering HSA products either contract with a specialty bank to facilitate the consumer’s health savings bank account.  Or, it allows the consumer to choose the bank of their choice to facilitate their health savings bank account.  In all cases, the savings account is owned by the consumer like any savings account.  The difference with this account, is the consumer must comply with special regulations to deposit money into this account.

One of the truly great features of this product is it encourage savings for medical expenses due to the pretax nature of the deposits and at the same time minimizes claim administration as the consumer has th­­e responsibility to make sure the medical expense is an eligible expense.  

The claim expenses are monitored by the IRS as the bank annually reports the health savings account activity to them.  Then when the consumer files their tax return, the bank account activity is authenticated with the tax return.  Claim administrators are not needed to operate this program, making for a great low cost product for all parties involved.

This bill is redundant to what is currently available, but even worse, creates more governmental bureaucracy with a claims manager to authenticate claim expenses.   In addition, this bill offers no additional public benefit beyond what is currently available, resulting in unnecessary cost to the state taxpayers.

We do not encourage you to move forward with SB 810.

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

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