Arizona — Yarnell Fires Suit
People who lost their homes in the Yarnell Fire in 2013 are asking the Arizona Court of Appeals to allow them to sue the state. They’re appealing the rejection of a case they filed against Arizona’s Forestry Division. A judge said the state has no obligation to protect the property of residents.
The state — at a hearing last week — continues to maintain that position and contends people are on their own if they chose to live in areas next to a wilderness. Plaintiffs are arguing since the state fought the fire it — by action — has agreed to protect them. The attorney for the plaintiffs is also asking the appeals court for the right to a jury trial.
The Yarnell Fire killed 19 firefighters and burned more than 120 homes.
California — Insurance Bills Signed by Governor
Governor Jerry Brown has signed into law a bill that lets insurance customers do more business with companies online or electronically. The Association of California Insurance Companies (ACIC) is among those praising the governor for his signature.
Assembly Bill 2591 lets policyholders to opt into a paperless policy to add a new driver or a new car to a policy without having to do paperwork. ACIC’s Armand Feliciano said, “This bill will also preserve existing consumer protections in the California Civil and Insurance Codes while reducing unnecessary paper waste.”
Another bill Brown signed is Senate Bill 1092 and it requires online hosting platforms to give notice to homeowners and renters so they can review a policy for appropriate coverage. It gives them a way to protect assets and clarifies who pays for what and the amounts.
Source link: Insurance Journal
California — Pure Premium Filing
The Workers' Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau (WCIRB) has done its pure premium rate filing with the California Department of Insurance for next year. The WCIRB recommendation is $2.26 per $100 of payroll. That’s 11% less than the filing of July 1st of this year.
It complies with the 5% reduction upheld by California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones in July.
California — Consumer protection improved
This came to Weekly Industry News from the California Department of Insurance.
Senate Bill 488, authored by Senator Marty Block (D-San Diego), was signed into law Thursday by Governor Brown. Sponsored by Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones, the bill establishes fair practices standards for public insurance adjusters (PAs) and enhances consumer protections.
After filing a claim, homeowners have the option of working with their insurance company's adjuster or hiring their own public adjuster. PAs are customarily compensated by receiving a percentage of the settled claim amount.
SB 488 clarifies several provisions in the PA statutes, most of which came directly from cases and complaints handled by California Department of Insurance investigators. Three significant issues that were revealed through these investigations demonstrated that some public adjusters were unfairly charging consumers when taking over partially settled claims, entering disaster areas prematurely to solicit work from homeowners, and inappropriately using high-pressure tactics to coerce distraught consumers to enter into contracts.
"I'd like to thank Governor Brown for signing this consumer protection measure," Commissioner Jones stated. "These reforms enhance public protection so consumers using a public adjuster can feel confident that their best interests will be protected and that fair practices will be adhered to. We have worked on some recent cases that highlighted the need for additional protections. I'd also like to thank Senator Block for authoring this bill in his last year in the Legislature."
In order to address these issues and provide further protection to these often vulnerable consumers, SB 488 has an added value provision that would prohibit public adjusters from charging a fee that would result in the consumer receiving anything less than the amount previously paid to them by the insurer prior to the involvement of the public adjuster.
In addition, in responding to complaints regarding unlawful practices by public adjusters, CDI determined that consumers devastated by California wildfires were contacted by either an unlicensed individual working for a licensed PA or by an attorney to solicit a PA contract. Some consumers discovered, weeks after signing a contract, that the public adjusters were unlicensed, were providing inaccurate information, and were not handling claims in a satisfactory or timely manner. These practices resulted in multiple consumer and insurer complaints to CDI.
One recent case involved a public adjuster, Jose Manuel Villa, of San Clemente. Villa is a formerly licensed public adjuster who allegedly forged claim checks from insurers and stole the proceeds, meant to rebuild fire victims' homes, from several homeowners and pocketed the money for his own use. One of Villa's victims was left homeless and living in a trailer while they struggled to rebuild their home.
SB 488 also increases consumer protections by:
• Requiring public adjuster license applicants to complete pre-licensing education, pass a qualifying examination, and pass a fingerprint-based background review.
• Allowing California to be reciprocal with other states by streamlining the process for non-residents to obtain public adjuster licenses.
• Prohibiting a public adjuster from contacting or soliciting a consumer during a disaster if:
(a) the emergency is still present;
(b) emergency responders are still present and/or
(c) an evacuation order is still in effect.
Idaho — Navigating the Medicare Maze class offered in Blackfoot
This is from the Idaho Department of Insurance.
Senior Health Insurance Benefits Advisors (SHIBA), a unit of the Idaho Department of Insurance, is offering Navigating the Medicare Maze, on Wednesday, October 5 at the Bingham County Senior Center, 20 E. Pacific St., Blackfoot, from 9:30 to 11:30.
This workshop is especially designed for:
• People who are turning 65 or otherwise approaching Medicare eligibility
• Anyone who would like to learn more about how Medicare works
Presenters will explain some of the vocabulary that is associated with Medicare and introduce the various parts of Medicare. Attendees will learn about:
• Important timeframes for enrolling in Medicare
• Enrollment periods for Medigap, Medicare Advantage and Medicare Prescription Drug Plans
• How the different parts of Medicare work together – and when they don’t
A Department of Insurance Consumer Affairs Officer will also be on hand to help attendees understand how to get the full benefit from the different types of insurance they carry and where to get answers to their insurance questions.
Anyone interested in attending this workshop is encouraged to contact SHIBA at 1-800-247-4422 to enroll.
Idaho — Bulletin 16-06
2017 Operative Date of the Principle-Based Valuation Manual:
Here is a link to the bulletin: http://www.doi.idaho.gov/DisplayPDF2.aspx?Id=2120
B U L L E T I N NO. 16-06
The Idaho Standard Valuation Law (SVL), Idaho Code § 41-612, establishes a principle-based methodology applicable, subject to specified exemptions, to life, accident and health, and deposit-type insurance contracts following the “operative date” of the uniform valuation manual, as adopted by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC).
To ensure uniform and simultaneous implementation by participating states, the SVL instructs that the evaluation manual will only become operative once a sufficient number of states have adopted substantially similar valuation laws prior to July 1 of the year preceding the operative date. Pursuant to Idaho Code § 41-612(14)(b), the operative date shall be the first day of January of the first calendar year after the first July 1 following the occurrence of all of the following events:
i. The valuation manual has been adopted by the NAIC by an affirmative vote of at least forty-two (42) members, or three-fourths (3/4) of the members voting, whichever is greater;
ii. The Standard Valuation Law, as amended by the NIAC in 2009, or legislation including substantially similar terms and provisions, has been enacted by states representing greater than seventy-five percent (75%) of the direct premiums written as reported in the following annual statements submitted for 2008: life, accident and
health annual statements; health annual statements; or fraternal annual statements;
iii. The Standard Valuation Law, as amended by the NAIC in 2009, or legislation including substantially similar terms and provisions, has been enacted by at least forty-two (42) of the following fifty-five (55) jurisdictions: the fifty (50) states of the United States, American Samoa, the American Virgin Islands, the District of Columbia, Guam and Puerto Rico.
The NAIC adopted the valuation manual on December 2, 2012, with forty-three (43) member jurisdictions voting affirmatively. In 2016, the number of states adopting principle-based valuation laws at the state level reached the requisite supermajority. As of today, forty-five (45) states, including Idaho, enacted laws substantially similar to the model SVL, including language using the same three (3) triggers to define the operative date. These states represent more than seventy-nine percent (79%) of the applicable premium volume. On Friday, June 10, 2016, after conducting an extensive analysis of these states’ laws, the state and jurisdictional members of the NAIC voted unanimously to recognize all three (3) triggers defining the operative date have been satisfied.
Accordingly, I hereby determine the operative date of the uniform valuation manual, for purposes of the Idaho Standard Valuation Law, Idaho Code § 41-612, is January 1, 2017.
Oregon — SAIF Guidewire Software
The SAIF Corporation — Oregon’s workers’ Compensation insurer — has selected Guidewire BillingCenter to manage its payment operations and PolicyCenter for underwriting. As part of the agreement SAIF will also adopt the firm’s rating, data management and business intelligence platforms.
Customers will be converted to the new system when policies are renewed.
Source link: Insurance Networking News