Small Insurer Failing
California's insurance regulator took expedited legal action today to secure the assets of and take control of Merced Property & Casualty Company, in an effort to protect the company's policyholders, including those who suffered losses in the Camp Fire. The volume of claims associated with the catastrophic Camp Fire-the deadliest and most destructive fire in California history-has overwhelmed the small insurer to the point of insolvency.
"California law gives us the authority to take over insurance companies that face insolvency. Protecting Camp Fire policyholders who have already suffered through so much was my first consideration," said Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones. "We are moving aggressively to take the necessary legal action to take control of the company and to trigger the state law enabling the California Insurance Guarantee Association to immediately begin the process of evaluating losses and paying claims."
The department filed with the Merced County Superior Court an expedited request for an order enabling the takeover of the company. The California Insurance Department's Conservation and Liquidation Office, established by law to handle the liquidation of failing insurance companies, is managing the transfer of the company's claims handling to CIGA.
While current insurance policies remain in-force for 30 days, anyone insured with Merced Property & Casualty Company should seek coverage with another insurer immediately. Once the court issues the requested order, the Conservation and Liquidation Office will notify policyholders about where and how to file a claim with CIGA for insured losses or the return of any unearned premium on their policy.
Given the unprecedented scale of recent wildfires, Jones directed the department to conduct additional detailed reviews of every property insurer domiciled in California to make sure they are properly managing their exposures. The department has received no reports of other insurers in a similar situation.
Source link: California Department of Insurance
Earthquake Rate Reduction: Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones has approved a rate reduction for California Earthquake Authority (CEA) residential earthquake policyholders that will bring millions of dollars in premium savings for tens of thousands of homeowners and renters in California.
“The department’s Rate Regulation Branch staff reviewed CEA’s rate filing and determined that the proposed rates should be lowered,” said Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones. “Department staff worked with CEA staff to arrive at approved rates that will result in an estimated total premium savings of $16.3 million to California consumers over a three-year period. Once again, Californians have benefited from the insurance commissioner's rate regulation authority."
The initial proposal in CEA’s rate filing was for a 0.4 percent increase. However, following the department’s actuarial review and recommendations, CEA submitted an amended filing, requesting a rate reduction of 1.7 percent. The proposed effective date is July 1, 2019.
The rate reduction is for CEA’s residential earthquake policy that can cover your home up to a certain amount, personal items in your home, such as furniture, TVs, and computers, and temporary and extra costs to live somewhere else while your area is evacuated or your home is being repaired.
Since Commissioner Jones took office in 2011, the department has reviewed more than 54,000 rate filings and saved consumers and businesses over $3.4 billion through rate reductions. Whether a particular policyholder as a result of this rate filing approval receives a rate reduction and how much, depends on their individual policy and CEA territory.
To make a home more earthquake resistant, the department encourages California homeowners to consider retrofitting their home. A verified retrofit may also allow homeowners to receive additional discounts on their homeowners and earthquake insurance policies. The California Residential Mitigation Program (CRMP) was established in 2011 to help Californians strengthen their homes against damage from earthquakes. CRMP established Earthquake Brace + Bolt to offer up to $3,000 to help California homeowners retrofit their house to reduce potential damage from earthquakes.
Source link: California Department of Insurance
Life Insurance Policy Locator
The national life insurance policy locator service — https://doi.idaho.gov/consumer/LifeAnnuity/PolicySearch — provides consumers with valuable assistance to search for a policy or to file a life insurance claim. Launched by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) in 2016, the service has helped Idahoans the past two years locate 109 policies that have paid out nearly $1.3 million in death benefits.
The user-friendly locator provides free nationwide access and streamlines the process for searching for ‘lost’ life insurance policies or annuities. Nationally, nearly 25,000 such policies have paid consumers $368 million in death benefits since the online service became available. Idaho Insurance Director Dean Cameron says “it’s not uncommon” for a person to unknowingly be designated a beneficiary of a policy or for a policy to be misplaced.
“Securing life insurance coverage is an important action of personal responsibility and financial independence,” he said. “Therefore, it is recommended that policyholders make their beneficiaries aware of any policy that names them as beneficiary. When a policy is lost, consumers don’t always know how or where to begin a search for a lost policy.”
Idahoans can access the locator through the Department website to submit a secure and confidential request. Participating insurers will work to match requests with available policyholder information. Matches are reported to state insurance departments. Insurers then make contact with beneficiaries or their authorized representatives. Tips for beginning and conducting a lost policy search include:
• Obtaining personal information from death certificates, bank statements or cancelled checks.
• Contacting organizations, associations or groups that may offer members life insurance policies.
• Consulting with insurance agents who provided the deceased home or auto insurance coverage.
Idahoans who have questions are encouraged to contact the Idaho Department of Insurance at 208-334-4250.
Democratic Party Leadership: Oregon House Democrats, fresh off election victories that saw the caucus’ majority expand to 38 members, has elected their new leadership team for the 2019 Legislative session.
Rep. Tina Kotek has been nominated to serve an additional term as Speaker of the House, while Rep. Jennifer Williamson was re-elected to serve in her role as the House Majority Leader.
Oregon Senate Democrats elected the following state senators to leadership positions:
Senate President Designate: Peter Courtney, D-Salem
Senate President Pro Tempore Designate: Laurie Monnes Anderson, D-Gresham
Senate Majority Leader: Ginny Burdick, D-Portland
Senate Deputy Majority Leader: Elizabeth Steiner Hayward, D-Beaverton
In the 2019 Session, Democrats will hold an 18-12 majority in the Senate
Kreidler Issues Fines: Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler issued fines in October totaling $103,950 against insurance companies, agents and brokers who violated state insurance regulations.
Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of Washington, Seattle; fined $30,000, order 18-0378
Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of Washington Options, Seattle; fined $50,000, order 18-0379
The companies erroneously sent a letter intended for Medicare Advantage Plan members only to nearly 168,000 members of its commercial plans in February 2017. The letter caused the members to think their health coverage had changed and misstated the name of the insurer.
Everest Reinsurance Co., Wilmington, Del.; fined $1,000, order 18-0411
The company sold health plans in Washington state in 2017 that were marketed as having different benefits than those the insurance commissioner approved. The company is no longer selling the plans in Washington.
American Service Insurance Co., Schaumburg, Ill.; fined $18,000, order 18-0364
The insurance commissioner fined the company for overcharging 359 Washington consumers nearly $75,000, which it has since repaid with 8 percent interest.
Markel American Insurance Co., Glen Allen, Va.; fined $2,000, order 18-0353
The insurance commissioner’s market conduct unit found problems with the company’s pet insurance product, including:
• Missing documentation in underwriting files.
• Not listing the full premium for some policies.
• Company officers’ signatures were missing from some policies.
• Failing to provide the annual privacy notice to some policyholders.
Agents and brokers
American Eagle Underwriting Managers, Delray Beach, Fla.; fined $500, order 18-0415
American Eagle sells insurance and surplus lines policies. The agency sold one insurance policy in Washington state before it was licensed to do so.
The insurance commissioner disciplined the following insurance producers for failing to notify the agency of administrative actions against them:
• William Tanner, Poulsbo, Wash.; fined $250, order 18-0381
• Jack T. Jarrell, Woodinville, Wash.; fined $250, order 18-0382
• Allied National Inc., Overland Park, Kan.; fined $500, order 18-0358
• John M. Brown Insurance Agency, Inc., Chicago; fined $250, order 18-0387
• Julie A. Burton, King Hill, Idaho; license revoked, order 18-0392
• Calton & Associates, Inc., Tampa; fined $250, order 18-0386
• Jeremy Edward Carlson, Johnstown, Colo.; license revoked, order 18-0391
• Shanelle Francis, Hopkinsville, Ky.; fined $250, order 18-0337
• John W. Kaklis, Clearwater, Fla.; license revoked, order 18-0394
• Fabienne Lunie Nau, Lilburn, Ga.; fined $250, order 18-0309
• Khanh Nguyen, Westminster, Calif.; fined $250, order 18-0384
• Johnathan Perkins, Chicago; license revoked, order 18-0393
Washington Association of Health Underwriters, Seattle; fined $200, order 18-0412
The continuing education provider for insurance producers failed to keep attendance records that satisfied the requirements in state law.
Source link: Washington Department of Insurance