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Oregon’s PERS Puzzle — In Search of a Solution

Posted By Staff writer, Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Oregon Governor Kate Brown and the Oregon Legislature are desperately looking for ways to beef up the state’s PERS system. It appears to be running out of money. As a fix, Brown is suggesting taking the State Accident Insurance Fund’s (SAIF) $1.4 billion surplus.

 

Of course, that money belongs to the businesses that buy work comp from SAIF but apparently Brown and some in the Legislature aren’t aware of how SAIF is constructed, nor have they looked deeply into the last time a Legislature grabbed those funds.

 

It cost the state over $225 million.

 

Oregon’s business community is looking at two ballot measures that may go a long way toward solving the PERS problem by fixing the future. The first gives new hires the option of a 401(k)-type retirement plan that is financed by a 6% salary contribution of the employee and an equal amount by the employer.

 

These new hires could pick this or the pension system as it exists now. They cannot — however — do both as today’s employees can. If enough signatures are gathered to put it on the ballot, and if it passes, then starting in July of 2021, employees would give 6% of each paycheck toward their choice.

 

Ballot idea two requires the Oregon Legislature to study a new 401(k) style retirement plan — like that just discussed — and then submit recommendations to implement the plan by 2022. At the same time, the idea will require current employees and new employees to pay a third of the cost of their pension benefits going forward.

 

The costs range between 2.8% and 6% depending on job classification.

 

The two petitioners are former governor Ted Kulongoski and former Republican legislator Chris Telfer. “This is not a short-term issue,” Kulongoski said. “For the next 20 years, this will eat at state government finances unless this issue is dealt with. If nothing else, I’m hoping the legislature starts looking at this much more seriously than they have.”

 

Kulongoski and Telfer got interested in pushing these ideas from interaction with the Oregon Business Council and the business council’s group, PERS Solutions for Public Services. For years both have — and with no success — pushed the Oregon Legislature to solve the PERS issue.

 

Tim Nesbitt is a labor leader. He has been the Oregon Business Council’s PERS consultant for years. Nesbitt thinks it’s going to take more than just a business community push to get PERS reforms passed.

 

“If the legislature doesn’t act this year, it would be on the ballot for the 2020 general election,” Nesbitt said. “By then, schools and other employers will be staring at another big PERS cost increase. This only gets worse. It intensifies to crisis proportions, whether we’re there already or will be” in the next few years.”

 

Nesbitt said the two groups, and Kulongoski and Telfer are taking both ideas to various places to get some sort of consensus. He doubts both will end up on the ballot. More than likely it will be something that combines both ideas.

 

Each will take 112,020 signatures to get on the ballot to be seen by Oregon voters in 2020.

 

Nesbitt says neither measure will do much to help with the $27 billion unfunded liability of the Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund. They would — if passed — ease the future impact to schools and public agencies.

 

Lou Ogden is the former mayor of Tualatin, Oregon. Former state representative Julie Parrish has joined Ogden and others to form Unified Business Oregon. Ogden says they like the two ballot measures. “Our organization applauds Governor Kulongoski and Senator Telfer for stepping up to lead on PERS reforms,” Ogden said. “They too have set aside party differences to come together to do what's right for all Oregonians, and we'll be there to help.”

 

Parrish is also working as a co-sponsor for another ballot measure that prohibits the state — or any government — from borrowing money to pay PERS obligations.

 

Source link: OregonLive.com

Tags:  California’s Superstorm: Did it end the drought?  insurance content  insurance industry  Oregon 

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A.M. Best — 2018 Insurer Performance ​

Posted By Staff writer, Tuesday, April 9, 2019

A.M. Best has published a report on the performance of insurers in 2018. It is titled, Hurricanes, Wildfires Weigh Down U.S. Property/Casualty Performance for Second-Straight Year, and concludes the insurer overall financial performance in 2018 fell by a slight margin.

 

Above-average catastrophe losses are the cause of the Best conclusion. The ratings service also says the losses countered the positives of the tax reforms passed in 2017.

 

Best said the catastrophes were of historic proportion and pointed to California’s devastating wildfires and a bunch of hurricanes that caused equally devastating losses. The report also says expenses outdistanced revenues. A 3.2% drop in net investment income topped the 3.1% increase in premium revenue.

 

Speaking of growth in premium revenue, A.M. Best’s report says insurers saw double-digit increases in other income but it was not enough to increase the total operating income. So overall there was a 6.7% decrease in operating income. It was mostly due to a downturn in the equity market toward the end of 2018.

 

Best’s report did have good things to say about the tax reforms. It said insurers were able to defer $17.8 billion in asset write-downs. Overall there was a 70% decline in overall income taxes. That turned into a more than double net income of $17.1 billion.

 

The negative is in 2019, those cuts will be passed down to shareholders via stock repurchases and dividends.

 

Pre-tax returns on equity — on average — fell for the fourth straight year to 7.0%. Increased competition has impacted premium growth. Then there’s higher claims costs on multiple lines of business.

 

Lastly, A.M. Best saysmergers and acquisitions played a role in the slight drop in 2018’s financial results. Due to large-scale acquisitions, stockholder equity fell 4%.

Source link: Insurance Journal

Tags:  A.M. Best — 2018 Insurer Performance  insurance content  insurance news 

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California’s Oroville Dam Uses Spillway — So-Far-So-Good

Posted By Staff writer, Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Two years ago the spillway of the Oroville Dam in California was crumbling. The danger posed by the nation’s tallest dam led to the evacuation of thousands of people living downstream. A quick fix allowed them to return to their homes — worried but at least safe for the time being.

 

Then the almost two-year fix began.

 

Now the work is completed and last week — after very heavy rains — California Department of Resources engineer Molly White said they opened the spillway and let water drain from the dam’s reservoir into the Feather River.

 

State Water Project deputy director Joel Ledesma said the repair “was designed and constructed using 21st century engineering practices and under the oversight and guidance from state and federal regulators and independent experts.”

 

Repairs ran $1.1 billion. The state asked for $639 million to help with repairs but that request was denied and instead California was given just $363 million. So local water agencies will end up paying for at least some of the cost of repair.

 

Source link: Insurance Journal

Tags:  California Department of Resources  Oroville Dam in California 

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The Farm Bill — PIA National Opposes Cuts

Posted By Staff writer, Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Late in 2018, President Trump signed the current farm bill into law. PIA National supported the president’s decision to sign. It — says Jon Gentile, PIA National vice president of government relations — preserved provisions in the crop insurance program that PIA National says are vital. The bill also honored how important the independent insurance agent is to the crop insurance program.

 

We’re pleased that Congress was able to agree on a compromise Farm Bill that includes strong support for the federal crop insurance program,” Gentile said. “The overwhelming votes in favor of the bill in both the House and Senate and the president’s signing of it signal strong, bipartisan support for the key crop insurance provisions it includes.”

 

In his 2020 financial year budget President Trump has taken a different approach to the Federal Crop Insurance Program. The budget statement runs 150-pages and the pages relating to the program said it eliminates “subsidies to higher-income farmers and reducing overly generous crop insurance premium subsidies to farmers and payments made to private-sector insurance companies.”

 

PIA National opposes the changes to the crop insurance program in Trump’s budget. To begin with, Trump is proposing a 15% cut to the Department of Agriculture. In that decrease is deep cuts to crop insurance totaling $26 billion over the next decade.

 

According to the PIA National Advocacy Blog, the Trump cuts will have three impacts:

 

  It reduces the average premium discount for producers to 48% — it is currently at 62%

  The administration says that will save $22.1 billion over 10-years

  Next, it caps the rate of return at 12%

  This — says the Trump administration — saves $2.9 billion over a decade

  Lastly, crop insurance eligibility is limited to farms with an adjusted gross income of $500,000

  This will save $641 million over 10-years

 

PIA National says this is just not a good idea.

 

“Crop insurance is the cornerstone of the farm safety net. During a time of depressed prices in rural America, now is not the time to slash the federal crop insurance program, which so many farmers and ranchers rely on to stay afloat,” PIA National’s Advocacy Blog says. “This budget proposal would make crop insurance unaffordable and unavailable for many people. Furthermore, a 5-year Farm Bill with strong support for crop insurance was just signed into law in December.”

 

PIA National said it strongly opposes these — or any cuts — to the crop insurance program and will diligently work with members in the House and Senate to make sure the cuts do not make it through Congress. “We urge Congress to reject these cuts and to support a strong federal crop insurance program that recognizes the vital role that independent insurance agents play in the delivery of the program,” the Advocacy Blog stated.

 

Source links: Insurance Business America, PIA National

Tags:  Federal Crop Insurance  insurance content  insurance news  Jon Gentile  PIA National  President trump 

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Social Media — A Love-Hate Relationship

Posted By Staff writer, Tuesday, April 9, 2019

We don’t like social media big shots like Twitter and Facebook. Or so says an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll. It found a high percentage of us say these sites do nothing positive. In fact, they do more to divide us than they do to unite us. Respondents say the sites spread falsehoods that some try to pass off as legitimate news.

 

The poll also found six in 10 of us — or 60% — don’t trust Facebook to protect vital personal information.

 

Going a step farther, when it comes to the economy, the poll things technology has more positives and benefits than drawbacks. However, half of us want to see the largest technology companies — Apple, Google, Amazon and Facebook — broken up.

 

Micah Roberts is a spokesman for the Republican-leaning Public Opinion Strategies. He said, “Social media — and Facebook, in particular — have some serious issues in this poll.” And then he added, “If America was giving social media a Yelp review, a majority would give it zero stars.”

 

When asked if the federal government should break up the largest tech companies like Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Google:

 

  47% said yes

  50% said no

 

Here is how the poll says we view social media:

 

  82% — wastes our time

  15% — say they help us use our time well

  61% — spreads unfair attacks and rumors

  32% — say it holds public figures and corporations accountable

  57% — it divides us

  55% — spreads lies and falsehoods

  Just 35% say these sites do more to bring us together

  Younger respondents to the poll are less likely to say social media divides us than older respondents

 

Here’s how we perceive the technology giants in terms of trust and when it comes to our personal information:

 

  28% don’t trust Amazon

  37% don’t trust Google

  36% view Facebook positively

  33% see it as a negative

  Twitter is 24% positive, 27% negative

  35% don’t trust the federal government

 

When it comes to personal information, and the collecting of personal information, most of us say giving these companies our personal information to pass onto advertisers is not an adequate trade-off for free or for lower priced social media services:

 

  74% say it is not an acceptable trade off

  23% are good with the trade off

 

Jeff Horwitt of Hart Research Associates is a pollster for Democrats. He said “If these were political candidates, it would be one thing. But for companies, you’d think these ratings would be [more] on the positive side.”

 

Here’s more:

 

  69% use social media once a day or more often

  63% pay bills online

  In the last couple of years, 48% have made an effort to limit how often they use their smartphone

  42% have made an effort to limit or stop using social media in the last couple of years

  42% have applied for a job using an online job search site

  33% listen to podcasts to get news and information

  26% have blocked or unfriended someone on Facebook or another social media site because of their political opinions

  26% use a personal assistant device like Alexa or Google Home

  24% have used a ride-sharing app like Uber of Lyft in the last month

  18% have used an online dating app or website

  14% play an online multi-player video game

 

Last question — how old is a child under age of 18 old enough to have their own smartphone:

 

  42% said 15 or older

  40% said 12 to 14

  11% say 11 and younger

 

Source link: NBC News

Tags:  Around the PIA Western Alliance States  insurance content  insurance industry  social media 

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Update: California — Wildfires & PG&E

Posted By Staff writer, Tuesday, April 9, 2019

On — or around — July 1st of this year a plan to mitigate the cost of wildfire will be given to  by his Commission on Catastrophic Wildfire Cost and Recovery. One of the ideas being bandied around is a wildfire catastrophe fund.

 

That said, a bill in the California Legislature might beat the commission to the punch. And there’s the governor himself. He’s also thinking of his own plan and may release a proposal or two sometime this week.

 

Moody’s likes the idea of a state catastrophe fund and said it “appears to be the reform that is most likely to happen” and that one will have an “immediate source of liquidity for utilities addressing wildfire claims and allow for financial stability during times of crises.”

 

In a statement on the matter, Moody’s vice president Jeff Cassella said, “California’s application of inverse condemnation effectively turns the state’s investor-owned and publicly owned electric utilities into an insurance backstop. When wildfires occur now, investors face significant uncertainty regarding the ability of utilities to recover related costs in a timely manner.”

 

Standard and Poor’s and Fitch — like Moodys — want the state to do something or the credit rating downgrades will continue for the state’s utilities.

 

Insurance attorney James Wood worked to create the California Earthquake Authority. It was a way to spread the risk and costs of earthquake damages around. He said Democrat Sen. Robert Hertzberg and Republican Assemblyman Chad Mayes are working on a bill to create a similar fund for wildfire.

 

A detailed plan will likely be presented to the governor in the next month or two. Wood thinks a bipartisan plan is a huge positive and it will likely have $20 million to $30 million. Those funds will come from taxpayers, utilities and ratepayers.

 

John Norwood is an insurance industry lobbyist. He said the biggest problem utilities have is inverse condemnation. It puts very strict liability on utilities and says whether they work really hard to prevent their equipment from causing fires, or if they are negligent, the result is the same.

 

The utility is at fault.

 

Norwood says the big problem with a wildfire fund is funding it. “PG&E had $100 million in insurance,” he said. “If you want to go to Lloyd’s and you want a $10 billion fund, they will probably tell you it will cost you $9 billion and there is a $1 billion deductible.”

 

So he doesn’t see much relief for insurers in this plan and pointed to the California Earthquake Authority and how it protects individual carriers from very high payouts. But earthquakes don’t happen with regularity.

 

Wildfires do.

 

Norwood points out that 11 of the 20 most destructive fires in the state’s history happened between this year and 2015. Five of them happened in 2017. No doubt more will come this year as well.

 

Utilities aren’t all that excited about the feasibility of such a fund. Caroline Choi is with Edison International. She says utilities like the idea of a wildfire recovery fund but it has to be added to reforms of the inverse condemnation rules.

 

“Without a predictable objective process for timely cost recovery at the CPUC, the existing strict liability framework applied to wildfire damages when ignition is substantially caused by utility infrastructure has damaged the utilities’ financial health, which will result in higher customer rates,” she said.

 

And while the debate on a wildfire fund goes on, Judge William Alsup of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California says PG&E cannot pay out dividends to shareholders. The company must — instead — use that money to reduce wildfire risk.

 

So until it clears 375,000 trees from around power lines this year, that order will stand. “PG&E has started way more than its share of these fires,” Alsup said. “I want to see the people of California safe.”

 

Source: Insurance Journal — link 1, link 2

Tags:  California Governor Gavin Newsom  california wildfires  pge  wildfire cost and recovery 

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​ObamaCare Update — The Newest Bandaid & A New Lawsuit

Posted By Staff writer, Tuesday, April 9, 2019

It’s called Medicare X. Democrats Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado and former vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine of West Virginia authored the plan and if it passes anyone would be able to buy a Medicare plan for their health care needs.

 

Bennet said this is a more realistic idea than the single payer system, Medicare for All.

 

“I just think this is a much more practical way of trying to achieve the objective of universal coverage, and over time, a reduction in our expenditures on health care, then practically any other proposal that’s been made since the ACA was passed,” he said.

 

Kaine and Bennet’s plan leaves ObamaCare and the current private system intact and just allows people of any age to go the Medicare route if they want to go that way.

 

The plan also expands access to tax credits to help people buy ObamaCare coverage. Those credits can be used to purchase the Medicare plan or ObamaCare-based insurance. Kaine and Bennet also do not want anyone to have to pay more than 13% of their income toward insurance premiums.

 

A similar version was also introduced in the House where it stands a much better chance of being heard.

 

While ObamaCare isn’t likely to be repealed and replaced this year or next by Republicans like President Trump called for, but he’s still fighting in the courts to make changes to the law. One battle shaping up to wind up in the U.S. Supreme Court is the decision by Texas Judge Reed O’Connor that ObamaCare is unconstitutional. His reasoning is based in the tax reforms of 2017 making the individual mandate null and void.

 

Since it’s gone, O’Connor said the entire law is unconstitutional.

 

Two Republican attorneys general — Montana’s Tim Fox and Ohio’s Dale Yost — have filed suit to stop O’Connor’s ruling. They say he went too far and overstepped his authority.

 

"No sound application of neutral rules and precedents — whether based on the Constitution’s original public meaning or Supreme Court precedent — could lead a court to strike down an entire congressional act based on the unconstitutionality of a single, inoperative provision within it," the states wrote.

 

The two attorneys general say it’s clear to them that when the tax reform package repealed the individual mandate, Congress intended to leave the rest of the law intact and that O’Connor knows that. "Congress would have been crystal clear if it had wanted to do something as extreme as making the entire Act rise or fall with the constitutionality of a completely inoperative provision," the brief they filed said.

 

The real worry — of course — is the protection of pre-existing conditions.

 

“The court’s decision, if affirmed, will deprive millions of non-elderly Ohioans and Montanans of coverage for pre-existing conditions. It will also negatively affect countless others who organized their affairs in reliance on the Act’s many unrelated provisions,” Fox said.

 

Fox and Yost say — ironically — even opponents of ObamaCare want to protect pre-existing conditions. “It is understandable that some who dislike the Affordable Care Act would cheer the result below. But they should remember that what goes around comes around. If allowed to stand, the decision ... will be used to invalidate any number of federal and state laws," the brief said.

 

Source links: The Hill — link 1, link 2

Tags:  insurance content  insurance news  joey leffel  Medicare  Obama  pia western alliance  weekly industry news 

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Around the PIA Western Alliance States

Posted By Staff writer, Tuesday, April 9, 2019
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Idaho

Health Plans: Non-grandfathered transitional health plans, also known as “grandmothered” plans, will be extended through December 31, 2020, the Idaho Department of Insurance announced.  The announcement follows the latest guidance released March 25, 2019 by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) that allows states the option of extending such plans.

 

Most Affordable Care Act (ACA) market reforms took effect January 1, 2014.  Non-grandfathered health policies in existence prior to that date are considered “transitional policies.”  Director Dean Cameron says these types of health policies continue to serve many consumers well.

 

“Numerous individuals and families have held onto these transitional policies since before 2014,” said Cameron.  “We are pleased they will have the option to retain them for another year.”

 

Transitional policies are not fully ACA-compliant; however, they must comply with state law and only specific ACA provisions regarding annual dollar limitations, pre-existing condition exclusions, waiting periods and mental health parity rules.  Carriers are to provide notice at renewal informing individuals or small employers of renewal options, including the opportunity to enroll in ACA-compliant plans.  CMS is permitting states to continue the extension of transitional plans through the “substantially enforcing” provision of the ACA.

 

For further information, click Bulletin 19-02, visit the Department website at doi.idaho.gov or call 208-334-4250.

 

Source link: Idaho Department of Insurance

 

 

Montana

Recreational Marijuana Goes Down: The House Taxation Committee has voted down a bill that would have made Montana the latest state in the union to allow recreational marijuana to be smoked legally.

 

The bill was tabled by a 12 to six vote.

 

Supporters argue the legalized pot would be a good profit center tax wise. The 32% tax could bring in $35 to $55 million a year in revenue.

 

Source link: Insurance Journal

Tags:  Insurance Content  insurance industry  Weekly Industry News 

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Update: Washington Legislature’s Proposed Capital Gains Tax

Posted By Staff reporter, Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Last week Weekly Industry News reported on the capital gains tax floating around the Washington Legislature and supported by — and first suggested by — Washington Governor Jay Inslee. His two-year budget proposes 9%. The Washington House put a 9.9% capital gains tax in its two-year budget.

 

The Washington Senate has now released its two-year budget. It has a $52.2 billion spending plan and includes a capital gains tax. It is 8.9% on earnings above $250,000 on the sale of high-valued assets like stocks and bonds. This applies to both individuals and those filing jointly.

 

Left out of the tax is retirement accounts, the sale of single-family residences, duplexes, etc., cattle, horses, breeding livestock, timber, timber lands and agriculture lands.

 

The independent insurance agents of the PIA Western Alliance — and PIA Washington/Alaska in particular — oppose the imposition of a capital gains tax of any percentage. PIA Washington Lobbyist Mel Sorensen has been closely following the issue at the state capital in Olympia. He told Weekly Industry News that a capital gains tax is bad for independent insurance agents.

 

Sorensen said many member agents have spent their entire business careers building their business and this tax is very, very unfair and — in a way — punitive. The increased value of their agency is their life’s work and a life’s work ought not be attacked in this way.

 

And it is an attack.

 

“For many, they have spent their entire professional careers building their businesses.  The value in their business is frequently what they plan to rely on for their retirements.  It’s simply damaging to expose them to a new 9% capital gains tax. For these reasons, we oppose the Governor's proposal to enact a new 9% tax on Capital Gains in Washington State,” Sorensen said.

 

Senate Majority Leader Andy Billig of Spokane supports the tax.

 

“Our tax code is broken, and we’re trying to put forward a thoughtful proposal that will help fix our state’s upside-down tax code,” he said. “Right now, if you are a low-income Washingtonian, you pay 17 percent of your income in taxes. If you are a high-income Washingtonian, you pay 3 percent.”

 

The budget estimates the capital gains tax will raise $780 million. Billig and other supporters want to use that money to give a tax break to low income families, small businesses and to senior citizens. In addition, senior citizens would also see a property tax reduction.

 

It also will do away with the sales tax on several products. They call it a “working families” tax credit. Billig said it will impact 400,000 households.

 

In addition, the Senate is looking at a cut in the business and occupation tax (B&O). It could save 350,000 businesses grossing less than $2.5 million annually about $3,000 a year. The PIA always likes the idea of a reduction of the B&O tax.

 

The 9.9% capital gains tax will likely pass the House. Democrats in the Senate are less optimistic of passing a budget that has the tax. Billig acknowledges that difficulty and said, “We’re not sure we have the votes for it. But if we don’t, we’re close, so it’s a viable option.”

 

Both budgets have roughly the same spending plan but the Senate can — says Billig — accomplish its goals without the capital gains tax.

 

Republicans — as expected — oppose the capital gains tax in both plans. Sen. John Braun of Centralia is the ranking member of the Senate Ways and Means Committee. He doesn’t think a tax increase is necessary at all. The Legislature already has all the funding it needs to get its goals accomplished.

 

“There is no question it’s [the Senate budget] much more respectful of taxpayers than the House approach,” Braun said and then added, “I appreciate that the Senate majority’s proposal steered clear of the destructive taxes the House supports — the new capital-gains income tax, the higher tax on services and the property-tax increase tied to lifting the statutory cap on local school levies. However, I remain concerned about the effect of the higher real-estate tax and other tax increases in today’s proposal.”

 

Leaders in both houses understand that if capital gains is included in a passed budget, it will almost automatically see a court challenge.

 

One of the groups talking lawsuit is the Freedom Foundation. Its CEO Tom McCabe said, “Graduated taxes on income, including income from capital gains, are clearly forbidden under the Washington state Constitution. That was true last year; it’s true now; and, unless the constitution is amended, it will be true every time it’s tried.”

 

Whether it’s 9%, 9.9% or 8.95, the PIA Washington/Alaska opposes a capital gains tax. Earlier this year Sorensen told Weekly Industry News, “Federal law defines the measure of tax on NET capital gain income. Although the Governor's capital gains tax plan may call it an ‘excise tax and ‘for the privilege of selling or exchanging long-term capital assets, or receiving Washington capital gains,’ the departments of revenue for every state with a capital gains tax classify it as an income tax.”

Source links: PIA Western Alliance, Tri-City Herald

 

 

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May 5 - 7 2019 . Salishan Spa & Resort.

 

 

 

Tags:  Washington state capital gains tax 

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A Step Closer — California’s Wildfire Insurance Company

Posted By Staff reporter, Tuesday, April 2, 2019

California’s Senate Bill 290 is known as the California Disaster Insurance Act. Basically — and if the Legislature passes it — the bill allows the state to negotiate for an insurance policy to help pay for the ever-increasing cost of wildfires.

 

The bill was introduced by Democratic Sen. Bill Dodd of Napa. It is co-sponsored by California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara and Treasurer Fiona Ma. Governor Gavin Newsom hasn’t chimed in on the idea yet, but experts believe he’ll go along if the Legislature passes the bill.

 

As of late last week Dodd’s bill passed the Senate Governmental Organization Committee. Now it’s on to the Senate Appropriations Committee. Lara said the new law will help find insurance from regular sources, reinsurance, bonds or via the creation of a parametric product, or from all four.

 

“It works like home insurance, but for the state,” Lara said.

 

Dodd blames climate change for the wildfires that have plagued California for the last few years. “Unpredictable disaster costs require large budget reserves and threaten cuts to critical programs,” Dodd said. “Allowing the state to invest in an insurance policy will provide predictability and limit taxpayers’ risk of increasing disasters costs.”

 

To critics, Dodd pointed out that the federal government and its northern neighbor Oregon as well as the World Bank have used this kind of insurance. It helps — he notes — reduce the cost and risk to taxpayers. To prove his point, Dodd pointed to Oregon and a report from the University of Idaho. 

 

  It has used insurance to protect the state from wildfire costs for 40-years

  Oregon has spent $61 million on premiums

  Insurance payments to the state have been $102 million

 

It’s obvious to anyone observing California that something needs to be done. CalFire says in 2017 and 2018, California spent $947 million out of the emergency fund to fight fire. That’s almost $450 million more than budgeted. That emergency budget has gone over seven of the last 10-years.

 

Source link: Insurance Journal

 

 

 

Tags:  California’s Senate Bill 290 is known as the Calif 

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