Around the PIA Western Alliance States

California — Work Comp Written Premium Lowest Since 2012: The WorkersCompensation Insurance Rating Bureau of California said 2021’s total written premium dropped 1.4% below that of 2020. It is also the lowest since 2012.

The drop is from rate reductions that have offset increases in payroll.

That said, the $4.4 billion in premium for the first three months of 2022 is up 22% from that same period in 2021. That average rate in the first quarter was $1.76 per $100 of payroll. That’s a 3% drop from the $1.81 in 2021.

Source link: Business Insurance —

California — Mercury Insurance & Legal Action by the Commissioner: California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara announced a major legal action against Mercury Insurance for violating consumer protection laws, including by selling Mercurys highest-priced policy to good drivers” instead of the lowest-priced policy for which good drivers qualify. This legal enforcement action comes after a Department investigation found numerous areas where Mercurys business practices harmed policyholders across its private passenger auto, homeowners, commercial auto, and commercial multi-policy lines of insurance.


By passing Proposition 103 in 1988, California voters mandated a 20 percent good driver discount” for consumers who maintain a safe driving record. The Departments investigation found that Mercury attempted to evade the requirements of Proposition 103 by steering good drivers into a higher-priced plan.


Failing to sell good drivers the lowest priced policy for which they qualify is illegal, and my Department will act on behalf of consumers and pursue the maximum penalties against Mercury for acting in bad faith,” said Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara. My message to Mercury and other insurance companies that try to evade the law is clear: unfair and illegal practices will not be tolerated and I will fight to ensure consumers get the discounts they are entitled to under the law.”


Mercury maintains two insurance companies in California: Mercury Insurance Company (MIC), which is exclusively for good drivers” and charges lower rates, and California Automobile Insurance Company (CAIC), which charges higher rates for nearly identical coverage and insures all drivers. The Departments investigation found a number of ways that Mercury illegally sold and steered drivers to its company with the higher-priced plan, including:


Directing its agents to provide quotes in its higher-priced plan using artificially low mileage, giving the appearance of lower rates in order to entice consumers.


Directing its agents to refuse to sell a lower-priced policy if a good driver had been cancelled for non-payment of premium or had an accident for which the driver was not at fault, neither of which is allowed under law.


Only offering a monthly payment option in the higher-priced plan.


Dissuading good drivers from switching to the lower-priced plan with misleading language for the nearly identical plans, including using language such as an [MIC] policy may be offered for a lower premium, but also provides somewhat less coverage and more restrictive payment options than the [CAIC] policy you currently have.”


Falsely representing that both plans charge policy fees, when in fact only the higher priced plan charged policy fees.


Subjecting good drivers without prior coverage to different terms and conditions than other drivers.


The Department alleges that Mercury also overcharged businesses and homeowners in other lines of insurance through a variety of illegal practices that resulted in unfairly discriminatory rates. For instance, Mercury increased premiums for commercial drivers who had been in an accident where they were not at fault and charged a higher premium for commercial drivers who had previously held a Mercury policy but failed to satisfy a requirement that they be listed as the named policyholder with another company for the previous two years, treating them as if they were new drivers.


The allegations – 34 in all – are detailed in the Departments Notice of Non-Compliance.


This action comes after Mercury previously paid a $27.6 million fine in August 2019 that was levied by the Department of Insurance, the largest fine against a property and casualty insurer in Department history. The California Supreme Court upheld the Departments action finding Mercury charged consumers unapproved and unfairly discriminatory rates. Like that case, the Departments latest legal action against Mercury also alleges numerous violations of Proposition 103, passed by the voters in 1988 to allow the Insurance Commissioner to protect consumers from excessive and unfairly discriminatory rates.


Idaho — Public Hearing on Blue Cross of Idaho Reorganization: Director Dean L. Cameron of the Idaho Department of Insurance will hold a public hearing on the plan of reorganization of Blue Cross of Idaho Health Services, Inc., and its intent to form a nonprofit mutual insurance holding company in accordance with title 41, chapter 38, Idaho Code, as follows:


Date:   Wednesday, August 24, 2022

Time:  9:00 am, MDT

Place:   Department of Insurance

700 W. State St., 3rd Floor Conference Room A

Boise, ID 83702


The purpose of the hearing is to determine whether the interests of the policyholders of Blue Cross of Idaho Health Services, Inc., are properly protected and whether the plan of reorganization as proposed is fair and equitable to its policyholders.


Further information is available at the Idaho Department of Insurance website, including the Blue Cross of Idaho Plan of Reorganization.


About the Department of Insurance

The Idaho Department of Insurance has been regulating the business of insurance in Idaho since 1901. The mission of the Department is to serve and protect Idahoans by equitably, effectively and efficiently administering the Idaho Insurance Code and the International Fire Code. For more information, please visit us at or email us at


Idaho — DOI Publishes Preliminary Health Insurance Rates for 2023: The Idaho Department of Insurance (DOI) has received preliminary health insurance premium rates from health insurance carriers for plans sold starting January 2023. The DOI is seeking public comments before final rates are published.


The DOI is reviewing health insurance premium rate submissions from health insurance carriers for next years individual and small group plans. These proposed health insurance premium rates are published on the DOI website at The average proposed change in premium by metal level, the corresponding 2023 rates by plan, and the carriersexplanations for the changes, are made publicly available for comment. The DOI only has the authority to determine the rates unreasonable” if the requests are not adequately justified. Final rates will be publicly available October 1, 2022, at the same web address.


We would like to thank Governor Brad Little for providing funding – and the Legislature for approving his recommendation – to apply for the 1332 Waiver,” said Director Dean L. Cameron, referring to the State Innovation Reinsurance Waiver” which will reduce the cost of individual market health insurance by offsetting the premium impact of high-cost health conditions. The proposed effective date for the waiver is January 1, 2023. While not officially approved, the result is that average individual adjustment rates are 9% lower than they would have been without that funding.”


Comments, questions, or ideas can be submitted via online form at or mailed to the following:


2023 Rate Comments

Idaho Department of Insurance

PO Box 83720

Boise ID 83720-0043


The DOI encourages consumers to carefully review all their options with a licensed insurance agent once the final rates are published.


Oregon — Wildland-Urban Interface Map: You have likely heard about Oregon’s new “Wildland-Urban Interface Map” which was recently released by the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF), the Office of the State Fire Marshal (OSFM), and Oregon State University School of Forestry.


This map has already had a significant impact on the cost of owning property in eastern Oregon. If your property has now been designated as falling within the WUI in high or extreme risk, you may have heard that your insurance provider will be increasing the cost of insuring your home or structure or that they will decline to renew your policy at its next scheduled renewal.


The new WUI Map also affects home and landowners by imposing brand new requirements for defensible space clearing and home hardening. Home and land owners whose property falls adjacent to ODF, Bureau of Land Management (BLM), or United States Forest Service (USFS) land are particularly affected, as the defensible space requirements do not apply to publicly owned land.


The WUI affects much of Northeast Oregon.


You can view the map and search your address here to see how OSU classified your property: Oregon Explorer WUI Map. If you feel your property has been incorrectly classified, or if you have already completed Defensible Space projects around your property, you have the right to appeal your classification.


Please read on for information about upcoming OSFM public hearings and the appeals process. If you have questions or require assistance, please email my office at


Washington — Accessing and receiving health care services and benefits prepublication draft posted: We released a pre-publication draft for the Accessing and Receiving Health Care Services and Benefits rule (R 2022-03). This rule will amend the existing rules as needed to be consistent with new laws regarding accessing and receiving health care services and benefits, including, but not limited to, those related to audio-only telehealth.


We scheduled an interested parties meeting through Zoom on August 11, 2022 at 2:30 p.m.. If you are interested in joining the meeting, please register for the meeting via Zoom —


Comments on the prepublication draft are due August 15, 2022; please send them to


For more information, including the text of the prepublication draft, please visit the rule’s webpage.


Washington — Implementation of E2SHB 1688 prepublication draft posted:  We released a prepublication draft for the implementation of E2SHB 1688 rule (R 2022-02). The draft rules will facilitate implementation of the law changes by ensuring that all affected entities understand their rights and obligations under the new law.


We scheduled an interested parties meeting to discuss the rule:


When: Aug. 8, 2022 at 1:00 p.m.

Please register for the meeting via Zoom —–srzksGtchU-9qJYYGDcerg_ThLTJl?utm_content=&utm_medium=email&utm_name=&utm_source=govdelivery&utm_term=


Comments on the prepublication draft are due August 12, 2022; please send them to


For more information, including the text of the stakeholder draft, please visit the rule’s webpage.


Washington — Kreidler extends emergency orders on coronavirus testing and surprise billing to August 26: Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler has extended three emergency orders. His order requiring health insurers to waive copays and deductibles for any consumer requiring testing for the coronavirus (COVID-19) and his order protecting consumers from receiving surprise bills for lab fees related to medically necessary diagnostic testing for COVID-19 are both extended until August 26.


Kreidler also extended his order requiring health insurers to cover coronavirus vaccine counseling until September 4.


The order waiving cost-sharing applies to all state-regulated health insurance plans and short-term, limited-duration medical plans. The order on surprise billing applies to both in-state and out-of-state laboratories when a provider orders diagnostic testing for COVID-19.


About PIA Western Alliance

The Professional Insurance Agents Western Alliance is a membership organization promoting and enhancing the success of independent agencies seeking to grow, learn and be heard within the industry.


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