California — Worker’s Compensation Disability Rates to Rise: The California Division of Workers’ Compensation said the minimum and maximum temporary total disability rates will rise in 2019. The weekly TTD minimum will go from $182.29 to $187.71. The maximum rate will jump to $1251.38 per week to $1,215.27.
In addition, workers who are totally disabled with an injury date on or after January 1, 2003 — and who are getting a permanent total disability payment — will be entitled to have their weekly LP or PTD adjusted.
Source link: Insurance Journal
California — Insurance industry 2, wildfire survivors 0: This from the California Department of Insurance.
Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones fired back at the insurance industry whose tactics have weakened another crucial piece of legislation aimed to strengthen consumer protections for wildfire survivors. Senate Bill 894, authored by Senator Bill Dodd (D-Napa) and sponsored by the department, is the last resort to help 2017 and 2018 wildfire survivors who discovered they were underinsured after losing their home.
Wildfire season already has California ablaze, as multiple wildfires burn throughout the state including the Pawnee Fire, which in four days has already destroyed 22 homes and 13,500 acres. Sadly, this appears to be only the beginning.
"Unfortunately, the insurance industry has chosen yet again to prioritize its insatiable appetite for profit over its own policyholders' who have and continue to suffer after losing everything in the devastating wildfires," said Commissioner Jones. "This common-sense proposal is the last resort for many wildfire survivors. It's a shame that the insurance industry, supposedly responsible for protecting California consumers, has chosen to neglect these survivors and significantly thwart the ability of many to rebuild and recover."
Despite the desperate need of many wildfire survivors to recover and rebuild, insurers pushed to inject into SB 894 a provision that takes a weakened version of a bill by Senator Mike McGuire that insurers previously killed last month. The language forced into SB 894 would be far weaker than current practice to help survivors avoid a dreaded inventory of all their possessions. Many survivors have described this process as a PTSD-like experience which adds insult to injury
SB 894 is aimed at helping claimants avoid the huge financial burden of being underinsured by tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars and unable to afford to rebuild. Underinsurance is not only a financial blow to disaster survivors, it is economically devastating to communities because, as one of the most challenging obstacles to loss recovery, it delays claim settlements which delays rebuilding. Insurers have failed to address this significant issue through any efforts of their own.
The bill still provides survivors the option to combine various coverages within their homeowner policy to help offset some of the underinsured amount in their primary dwelling, but only in a limited fashion after narrowing at the hands of the insurance industry. Consumers only qualify for this provision if they meet three tests: 1) It is following a declared disaster; 2) They suffer a total loss; 3) They are underinsured in their primary dwelling or Coverage A.
SB 894 would have also extended policy renewal protections for survivors retroactively to July 1, 2017 to alleviate the burden on survivors who find it impossible to get new coverage during the planning and rebuilding phase of the recovery. However, the Assembly Insurance Committee insisted SB 894 not help 2017 or 2018 wildfire survivors and removed the retroactivity from this bill. This provision would still apply prospectively and reflects the reality that it takes most survivors more time than currently permitted to rebuild or replace the total loss property. Under the bill, survivors will be able to renew their insurance policy twice, which would cover two years after the loss.
California — Protecting Californians: This from California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones.
Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones announced that four bills he sponsored to protect California consumers have passed the Senate Insurance Committee. AB 1875 (Wood), AB 2594 (Friedman), AB 2634 (Chau), and AB 2802 (Friedman) strengthen consumer protections and aim to address critical issues including wildfire recovery, life insurance and child support.
"As Insurance Commissioner, my main priority is protecting California consumers while ensuring a healthy and vibrant insurance market," said Commissioner Jones. "These bills strengthen laws to protect wildfire survivors and resolve other critical issues throughout the state. I thank Assemblymembers Wood, Friedman and Chau for authoring these consumer protection bills that will improve the lives of many Californians."
AB 1875 (Wood)
addresses confusion among wildfire survivors surrounding extended replacement cost coverage (ERC). Almost all insurance companies offer ERC, which allows property owners to purchase limits above the replacement cost policy limits, which are typically based upon the insurance company's estimated cost of replacement. However, those ERC limits can vary dramatically from the low of a 20 percent option to higher options of 50, 75, or even 100 percent. Many consumers are never provided these options by insurers nor are they told how the coverage options, if available, would impact their premiums. AB 1875 would require an insurer who does not provide at least 50 percent ERC to help direct the consumer to an insurer that does. This will give consumers reasonable options against underinsurance.
AB 2594 (Friedman)
extends a consumer's right to sue their insurer following a declared disaster from 12 months to 24 months, given that it now takes longer to rebuild after California's significant fires in 2015 and 2017. After losing a home or business in a fire resulting in a declared state of emergency, current law provides a policyholder at least two years to rebuild their property and receive the full replacement cost coverage they paid for. However, experience shows that two years is often insufficient time for families to rebuild the insured property. Some insurers have refused consumer claims, citing the lack of a lawsuit within the 12-month timeframe.
AB 2634 (Chau)
requires insurers to disclose to their policyholders within reasonable timeframes upcoming increases in the cost of insurance charge or administrative expense charge on a flexible premium life insurance policy. This important notification will at least minimally allow the policyholder to make an informed decision about whether to pay the insurer's premium increase to avoid a reduction in policy values or a possible lapse of the policy. Some increases from insurance companies have been as high as 67 percent of the previous amount the consumer had been paying. AB 2634 will provide policy owners with better and more complete information about the effect of premium increases on their life insurance policies. This will help them to understand their options and avoid a possible cancellation of coverage. Specifically, this bill would require an insurer to inform the policy owner of a flexible premium life insurance policy 90 days before the policy is subject to an increase in the cost of insurance charge or administrative expense charge and require the notice to include specified information about the increase.
AB 2802 (Friedman) establishes the Insurance Payment Intercept Program, which will require insurance companies to participate in a program matching individuals behind on child support payments with their insurance claims to verify any insurance payments are used to pay past-due child support. The bill will likely lead to tens of millions of dollars in payments to parents annually. Child support is critical income for eligible families. Unfortunately, most families are not receiving all of the support they are owed. In California alone, the total amount of unpaid child support is nearly $18 billion and over $116 billion in unpaid child support is due to families across the country.
Nevada — New Auto Insurance Liability: New auto liability insurance requirements went into place on July 1st. The law now says limits will be $25,000 in bodily injury per person, $50,000 in bodily injury per accident and $20,000 in property damage. That’s an increase from $15,000, $30,000 and $10,000.
Source link: PropertyCasualty360.com
Nevada — Pot Demand Soaring: The Nevada Department of Taxation says marijuana demands are outpacing projections by light years. It wants an additional $1.5 million to hire more security guards and to do background checks on employees at facilities selling pot.
The request went to the state’s interim Finance Committee. Taxation Director Bill Anderson noted his staff is severely overworked. Sales totaled $41 million in March. That’s a 16% increase from the month before and February saw a 14.5% jump over December which had set the previous record.
“It’s pretty obvious things have gotten off to a stronger start than what was anticipated. We’ve collected 97 percent of the taxes we thought we would collect for the entire year,” he said.
Taxes have hit $48.97 million so far. The projection for the year was $50.3 million.
Source link: Insurance Journal
Oregon — From the Department of Insurance: Preliminary rate decisions for 2019 health plans released.
Oregonians can now see the state’s preliminary rate decisions for 2019 individual and small employer health insurance plans. The Division of Financial Regulation must review and approve any rates before they can be charged to policyholders.
Preliminary rate decisions are for small businesses and individuals who buy their own coverage rather than getting it through an employer.
In the individual market, the division has issued preliminary decisions for seven companies with average rate changes ranging from a 9.6 percent decrease to a 10.6 percent increase. Under the preliminary decisions, Silver Standard Plan premiums for a 40-year-old in Portland would range from $414 to $486 a month.
“Although rates are still rising for many consumers, the Oregon Reinsurance Program is continuing to provide some stability and relief,” Insurance Commissioner Andrew Stolfi said. “Without this program, Oregonians who buy their own insurance would see much larger rate increases. Actions taken at the federal level have injected instability into the market and resulted in rate increases, and we are committed to protecting Oregonians’ access to affordable, comprehensive coverage.”
In the small group market, the division has reviewed each of company’s rate request and plans to approve the rates as filed. The average rate increases range from 4 percent decrease to a 9.4 percent increase. Under the preliminary decisions, Silver Standard Plan premiums for a 40-year-old in Portland would range from $295 to $387 a month.
See the chart at https://dfr.oregon.gov/healthrates/Documents/2019-pre-prop-rates.pdf for the full list of preliminary decisions.
Reasons for the rate changes include:
• The new Oregon Reinsurance Program, which reduced individual market rates by 6.3 percent for 2019.
• Uncertainty in the individual market due to factors such as the reduction of the individual mandate penalty to $0 and federal rules around association health plans and short-term/limited-duration plans.
• Medical costs continue to rise, driven by increased use and the cost of new specialized prescription drugs.
These preliminary decisions will undergo continued review and discussion through public hearings being held in Salem and streamed online July 9-11. The public comment period also will remain open through Wednesday, July 11. There will be a dedicated public comment period during each public rate hearing. For a schedule of hearings and to submit comments online, visit www.oregonhealthrates.org.
Final decisions are expected to be announced Friday, July 20.
Washington — From the Department of Insurance: Updating citations concerning fraternal mutual property insurers (R 2018-03)
The purpose of this proposed rule is to amend WAC 284-36-010 (leg.wa.gov) regarding domestic fraternal mutual property insurers, agents and directors. The current rule cites RCW 48.36.410 that has been repealed. Therefore, this section should be amended to reference RCW 48.36A.390, which is the current statute.
Notice to start rulemaking: CR-101 for R 2018-03 (PDF, 112.67 KB) — https://www.insurance.wa.gov/sites/default/files/2018-06/2018-03-101.pdf
The comment period for the CR-101 ends on July 31, 2018.
Submit comments to the rules coordinator: email@example.com
Source link: Washington Department of Insurance
Information gathering: Risk mitigation survey
The Office of the Insurance Commissioner (OIC) is beginning the rulemaking process on our request legislation from this past legislative session on Substitute House Bill 2322, which creates the ability for property insurance companies to create risk mitigation/prevention programs for their insured.
Because there is interest in OIC moving forward as soon as possible on this rule and challenges with scheduling the first stakeholder meeting, we are trying something new, a survey.
The questions in this survey are what the rules team would normally ask at the initial stakeholder meeting. Your responses to these questions by July 10, 2018, will allow the rules team to stay on track to adopt this rule by January 1, 2019.
The OIC plans to circulate a stakeholder draft in early September and will hold at least one stakeholder meeting prior to issuing the CR 102 and then again prior to the filing of the CR 103.
A list of all of the Risk Mitigation survey questions can be found on the OIC website on the special data calls page — https://www.insurance.wa.gov/sites/default/files/2018-06/risk-mitigation-survey-questions.pdf?utm_content=&utm_medium=email&utm_name=&utm_source=govdelivery&utm_term=
If you have any questions about this survey and/or other aspects of the rulemaking process on SHB 2322 please contact David Forte at (360) 725-7042 or email him at RulesCoordinator@oic.wa.gov.
Here is the survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/Q2QVKLQ?utm_content=&utm_medium=email&utm_name=&utm_source=govdelivery&utm_term=
Stakeholder meetings scheduled Rulemaking on improving access to reproductive health
The Office of the Insurance Commissioner (OIC) is beginning the rulemaking process on Substitute House Bill 6219, which concerns coverage of reproductive healthcare.
We have scheduled two stakeholder meetings, which are open to the public. These meetings provide an opportunity for stakeholders to offer the OIC suggestions for this rule and to discuss implementation procedures already being developed by stakeholders before the OIC begins rule drafting. To ensure that all perspectives are fully considered and discussed, each meeting will have a different focus. However, all stakeholders are invited to attend any meeting.
Meeting #1: Focus on consumer and health care provider/pharmacy issues; July 23 at 2:30 p.m.
Meeting #2: Focus on health carrier/insurer and agent/broker issues; July 31 at 9 a.m.
These will take place at the OIC's Tumwater office located at 5000 Capitol Blvd SE, Tumwater WA 98501.
Written comments are also welcome and are due July 31, 2018; please send them to RulesCoordinator@oic.wa.gov.