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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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Around the PIA Western Alliance States

Posted By Staff Reporter, Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Idaho

Medicare Workshop: A free Medicare Workshop for individuals turning 65 and those approaching Medicare eligibility will be held Wednesday, September 19, from 5:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at the Hailey Public Library, located at 7 West Croy St., Hailey, Idaho.  Caregivers and all those interested in learning how Medicare works are encouraged to attend.

The workshop will be led by Senior Health Insurance Benefits Advisors (SHIBA), a unit of the Idaho Department of Insurance.  SHIBA presenters will introduce the various parts of Medicare, and explain some of the vocabulary associated with the program.  Topics to be covered include:

  Timeframes for enrolling in Medicare

  Enrollment periods for Medigap, Medicare Advantage and Prescription Drug Plans

  How the different parts of Medicare work together – and when they don’t

To register for the workshop, please contact the SHIBA office at 1-800-247-4422.

Oregon

From the Department of Insurance: The Oregon Division of Financial Regulation recently announced the following Proposed Rulemaking hearing:

Amendment to Standard Bronze and Silver Plans for 2019

Rules affected: OAR 836-053-0013

To clarify that coverage provided under the standard plans must meet the requirements of HB 3391.

This rule makes permanent amendments to OAR 836-053-0013 and its exhibits. The changes contained in the rules were previously adopted via a temporary rule. These amendments are needed to ensure that the standard bronze and silver plan designs adopted by the department under ORS 743B.130 comply with the requirements of House Bill 3391 (2017).

Filed: August 31, 2018

Public hearing: September 25, 2018 1:30 p.m.

Last day for public comment: October 2, 2018, 5 p.m.

The agency requests public comment on whether other options should be considered for achieving the rule's substantive goals while reducing the negative economic impact of the rule on business.

For more information on this proposed rule, please visit the Division's website:

dfr.oregon.gov/laws-rules/Pages/proposed-rules.aspx

 

Bulletin 2018-07: Regulation of Association Health Plans in Oregon:

The Oregon Division of Financial Regulation (the division) has received numerous inquiries about its guidance concerning associations and Multiple Employer Welfare Arrangements (MEWAs). This bulletin summarizes and clarifies guidance for issuers, associations, MEWAs, insurance agents, and producers in light of the recent United States Department of Labor (DOL) final regulation titled "Definition of Employer Under Section 3(5) of ERISA-Association Health Plans" (AHP rule).

Attached is the full bulletin as released by the Department of Consumer and Business Services (DCBS).

More information will be made available on the Division of Financial Regulation website https://dfr.oregon.gov

bulletin2018-07 — https://content.govdelivery.com/attachments/ORDCBS/2018/09/10/file_attachments/1069511/bulletin2018-07.pdf

 

The Oregon Division of Financial Regulation recently adopted the following rule:

ID 30-2018 & ID 32-2018: Adoption of requirements for sale of Medicare Supplement plans on or after January 1, 2020

ID 30-2018

Rules affected: OAR 836-052-0114, 836-052-0119, 836-052-0141, 836-052-0143, 836-052-0144

Clarifying applicability of exhibits to OAR 836-052-0160.

Filed: August 28, 2018

Effective: September 1, 2018

ID 32-2018

Rules affected: OAR 836-052-0114

Refiled to correct error in Exhibit 1.

Filed: August 30, 2018

Effective: September 1, 2018

Documents:

ID 30-2018 Permanent Administrative Order — https://dfr.oregon.gov/laws-rules/Documents/id30-2018_rule-order.pdf

ID 32-2018 Permanent Administrative Order — https://dfr.oregon.gov/laws-rules/Documents/id32-2018_rule-order.pdf

For more information, please visit the Division's website:

https://dfr.oregon.gov/laws-rules/Pages/adopted-rules.aspx

 

Washington

Kreidler Issues Fines: Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler issued fines in July totaling $115,050 against insurance companies, agents and brokers who violated state insurance regulations.

Agents and brokers

T-Mobile USA Inc., Bellevue; fined $20,000 order 18-0085

T-Mobile, a cell phone carrier, is also a licensed insurance producer in Washington state. The company offered to pay off phone loans and early termination fees for Verizon customers who switched to T-Mobile and purchased its insurance between May 31 and Aug. 2, 2017. The offer is illegal in Washington state because it induces people to purchase insurance. During the promotion, 927 Washington consumers purchased the plan, which cost $15 per month.

Linna A. Callaham, Bainbridge Island, Wash.; license revoked, order 18-0288

Callaham collected insurance premiums from a commercial client but failed to send them to the insurance company, causing two policies to be canceled and a commercial building to be uninsured for eight months. She never refunded the unpaid premium of more than $5,000 to the client.

APPS Insurance Services Inc., Puyallup, Wash., and James M. Shirreff, Fircrest, Wash.; fined $3,000, order 18-0303

The insurance commissioner conducted four financial examinations that found APPS delayed sending premium refunds totaling nearly $1,500 to three commercial clients. Shirreff is an insurance producer and is responsible for APPS, an insurance agency.

Geoffrey Wayne Leininger, Plano, Texas; license revoked, order 18-0319

A consumer filed a complaint with the insurance commissioner after Leininger placed a homeowner’s policy without the consumer’s consent. The insurer, Liberty Mutual Insurance, refunded the $649 premium payment to the consumer and canceled the unwanted policy.

GSIS, Inc., and Glenn Stebbings, Redondo Beach, Calif.; fined $2,500, order 18-0243

Kenneth E. Kukral, Beachwood, Ohio; fined $3,500, order 18-0246

GSIS and Stebbings were not licensed to sell surplus lines insurance policies in Washington state. To avoid becoming properly licensed, they used Kukral as a “courtesy filer” at least 49 times to obtain surplus lines policies, a violation of state insurance laws.

The insurance commissioner disciplined the following insurance producers for failing to notify the agency of administrative actions against them:

  Daniel Lee, New Orleans; fined $250, order 18-0192

  Horace Thomas Gaines, Nashville; fined $250, order 18-0193

  Walter A. Ringfield, Phoenix; fined $500 and revocation rescinded, order 18-0197

  One Resource Group Corp. and Todd Jeffrey Stewart, Roanoke, Ind.; fined $500, order 18-0281

  Alex Belfort, Sinking Spring, Penn.; license revoked, order 18-0302

  Benjamin Stutts IV, Sandy, Utah; license revoked, order 18-0322

Insurance companies

The insurance commissioner fined the following companies for filing their rates late or using the wrong rates:

  Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of Washington Options, Inc., Seattle; fined $3,500, order 18-0222

  Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of Washington, Seattle; fined $3,500, order 18-0228

  Regence BlueShield, Seattle; fined $2,500, order 18-0224

  Crestbrook Insurance Co., Columbus, Ohio; fined $50,000, order 18-0251

The insurance commissioner fined the following companies for violating other state insurance laws:

  GEICO, Chevy Chase, Md.; fined $2,500, order 18-0126

  First National Insurance Co. of America, Keene, N.H.; fined $20,000, order 18-0275

  Pennsylvania Manufacturers Indemnity Co., Blue Bell, Penn.; fined $1,500, order 18-0332

Others

The insurance commissioner fined the following organizations for violating state insurance laws:

  Pioneer Title Co. of Walla Walla, Inc., Walla Walla, Wash.; fined $250, order 18-0258

  Oregon Association of Health Underwriters, Portland, Ore.; fined $800, order 18-0304

Source link: The Washington Department of Insurance

 

Clarification: Clarifying adjuster licensing requirements (R 2017-04) rule withdrawn

We have withdrawn the notice to start rulemaking (CR-101) on the clarifying adjuster licensing requirements rule R2017-04. We withdrew the notice to start rulemaking because as we progressed through the process for this proposed rule, the broad language in RCW 48.17.010(1) that defines "Adjuster" will not allow us to narrowly identify the role of adjusting in insurance claims.

For more information, including the withdrawal letter, please visit the rule's webpage — https://www.insurance.wa.gov/clarifying-adjuster-licensing-requirements-r-2017-04?utm_content=&utm_medium=email&utm_name=&utm_source=govdelivery&utm_term=

Tags:  Around the PIA Western Alliance States  Idaho  Insurance  Oregon  Washington 

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PIA Political Action Committees (PAC) — Need You

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, September 23, 2015
Each year in Oregon and Washington the Legislature considers proposals that can harm your business. This is true whether you’re an agent, agency or insurance company. The lobbyists from both PIA Oregon and PIA Washington — either by themselves or joining with other industry representatives — do battle on your behalf.

 

Most of the time they are successful.

 

Your states political action committee does more than just battle ill-conceived bills. It educates legislators and candidates for political office on the insurance industry and its value to the consumer. The better we educate, the more success we have.

 

The biggest threat each year is taxes. If you dont think agents and brokers should face a massive increase in B&O taxes, then you need to take action. Help us elect members to the Oregon State Legislature who will respond to your concerns. 

 

In Washington where, in light of the need of the Legislature to meet a Supreme Court mandate on education, pressure to increase B&O taxes is very high your lobbyist helped defeat a proposal in 2013 to raise the B&O tax of PIA members by 271%.

 

Click here to contribute to PIA Oregons PAC.

 

Click here to contribute to PIA Washingtons PAC.

 

Or you can mail your states PAC a check. Can you write a check for $1,000 or more? Do it now. For others of us the budget isnt there for such a large contribution. Do what you can: $500, $250 or $100.

 

Give what you can but do it now and help us make a difference.

 

To donate by check send it to one or both:

 

WA PIAPAC or OR PIAPAC

 

3205 NE 78th Street, Suite 104

Vancouver, WA  98665-0697

Tags:  Community  Donate  Insurance Content  Insurance Industry  Insurance News  Oregon  PAC  PIA Political Action Committees (PAC) — Need You  Washington  Weekly Industry News 

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A special thank you to our KKlub Members for their support.