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Around the PIA Western Alliance States

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Arizona — Towing Crack Down: The Arizona Legislature is looking at a bill to keep towing companies in line. Some are just tagging cars for no reason and towing them to lots where they charge car owners exorbitant fees to return them. One auto owner says the towing company charged her big bucks to get her vehicle back, stole her floor mats and damaged the car.

Bob Passmore is the assistant vice president of the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America. He said car insurance rates get inflated by about $616 million a year because of the unnecessary rates charged by towing companies and that Arizona is the 6th worst state for abusive towing practices.

Phoenix is number nine in predatory cities.

“The most problematic (issue) is the little, miscellaneous fees that appear to be made up. The administration fee, the gate fee. Some tow companies will charge people to move the car to get their personal effects,” Passmore said.

Another problem for motorists is the limited hours for towing companies, the documentation requirements that are excessive and inspection charges and other ploys to get more money out of the towing victim.

Under a bill in being considered — and looks like it will pass — towing companies responding to car accidents have to:

  Take the vehicle to the closest storage lot.

  Allow the car owner to retrieve personal items, and insurance employees to inspect the vehicle for damage, for free.

  Provide an itemized receipt upon request and not add fees until it is produced.

  Release the vehicle as soon as fees are paid.

  Stay open or have an employee on call from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday except holidays.

 

The bill also allows them to easily sue the towing company. “You need some kind of remedy if you've been wronged. If you're the poor soul whose car winds up in one of these predicaments, your'e stuck in this limbo,” Passmore added.

 

Source link: AZ Central

 

California — Dam Crisis Bill: California Governor Jerry Brown has signed into law legislation improving inspection practices for the state’s dams. It’s a cure — supposedly — for the problems that plagued the Oroville Dam last year when 200,000 people had to evacuate because of fear the dam would fail.

Annual inspections are required for those deemed to be a high hazard, standards are set for inspections and periodically the original plans and design must be reviewed.

 

Source link: Insurance Journal

 

California — Earthquake Retrofits: The California Earthquake Authority (CEA) said the Earthquake Brace + Bolt program had more than 7,500 applications for 2,000 retrofit grants.

CEA CEO Glenn Pomeroy said the authority funded program registration closed a couple of weeks ago. “A record number of Californians signed up for EBB this year, and that is another indication of the growing awareness in our state of the need to become better prepared for the next damaging earthquake,” he said.

Homeowners will be qualified and then a random drawing will be held to give them the $3,000 toward a retrofit.

 

Source link: Insurance Journal

 

Montana — Employee Settlements: State settlements to employees of the state hit $336,000 in the 2018 budget year and it has Senate Majority Leader and former PIA National president Fred Thomas concerned.

“It’s a big concern, to me, what’s going on in state government. It looks like there’s a bunch of settlements going and they need to be brought to the light,” he said.

Many of the payouts have to do with people leaving government over the last gubernatorial election.

 

Source link: Billings Gazette

 

Nevada — Work Comp Rates: Nevada Insurance Commissioner Barbara Richardson has approved a slight drop in workers’ compensation voluntary insurance loss costs and  an also slight rise in the average increase for assigned-risk rates.

They’ll take effect this month.

The voluntary loss cut will be 2.3% and the assigned-risk rate will go up 0.2%.

 

Source link: Insurance Journal

 

Oregon — Right to Health Bill Fails: The Oregon Legislature failed to pass the constitutional right to health care. Democrats failed to get enough votes to pass the plan to the dismay of Senate Health Committee chair Sen. Laurie Monnes Anderson.

“I’m heartbroken, but it’s how it turned out,” she said.

Democrats want to expand health care access via government programs and are trying to rein in private insurance costs. And they’ll shoot to pass this plan in the next Legislature.

Source link: OregonLive.com

 

Oregon — From the Department of Insurance: New law protects consumers from surprise medical bills

Beginning March 1, a new law protects consumers from receiving surprise out-of-network medical bills from health care providers. The new law prevents health providers, who were not chosen by the consumer, from balance billing services performed on or after March 1, 2018.

Balance billing occurs when an out-of-network health care provider you did not choose, such as an emergency room physician, anesthesiologist or radiologist, bills you for more than the allowed in-network charges for the following:

An emergency service at any medical facility

Part of a planned procedure at an in-network facility

The Division of Financial Regulation is available to assist Oregonians who believe they have been improperly balance billed.

“It is almost impossible to choose every medical provider at a medical center that treats you, even more so in the case of an emergency,” said Andrew Stolfi, Oregon insurance commissioner. “If you are surprised by a bill from an out-of-network doctor or other health care provider, you should connect with our advocacy team immediately.”

Additionally, the law requires health care providers to inform consumers about the increased financial responsibility when choosing services from an out-of-network provider.

If you receive services from an out-of-network provider, you may still be responsible for co-insurance, co-payments, or deductibles. The new law does not prevent consumers from choosing an out-of-network provider, nor does it prevent out-of-network providers from balance billing consumers when consumers choose to see them.

If you have questions or concerns regarding your insurance coverage or a surprise medical bill connect with our advocates at 888-877-4894 (toll-free) or visit http://dfr.oregon.gov/gethelp/Pages/file-a-complaint.aspx.

 

Amendment of Process For Rate Filing for Individual and Small Employer Health Benefit Plans

Amend: OAR 836-053-0473

Adopt: OAR 836-053-0474

This proposed rule would codify the ability to reopen a previously closed comment period in response to an “intervening event.”

The last two health insurance rate review cycles have included significant uncertainty as a result of actions taken at the federal level. These events have occurred either late in the rate review process or after rates have been approved and finalized. For example, on Oct. 12, 2017, the United States Department of Health and Human Services issued a legal opinion concluding that they should immediately halt cost-sharing reduction payments to health insurance companies. After analyzing the announcement and its implications, DCBS allowed health insurance companies in the individual market to increase their already approved silver metal tier 2018 plan rates by 7.1 percent. In an effort to maintain transparency and engage the public, DCBS reopened the previously closed public comment period for several days. DCBS was able to reopen the comment period in this instance because during the original rate review, the termination of cost-sharing reduced plans was discussed and this was not new information presented by the insurers. However, it became clear that the division should codify a process to respond to future unforeseen changes in health care regulation.

Filed: February 26, 2018

Public hearing: March 22, 2018, 1:30 p.m.

Last day for public comment: : March 29, 2018, 5:00 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

 

Health Benefit Plan Coverage of Well-woman Preventive Care Services

Amend: OAR 836-053-0435

The proposed rule adopts the United States Health Resources and Services Administration guidelines for well-woman care preventive services that insurers offering health benefits plans in the individual, small and large groups markets will be required to cover at no cost to consumers beginning plan year 2019.

Section 2(2)(a) of House Bill 3391, passed during the 2017 legislative session, requires health benefit plans beginning in plan year 2017 to cover a range of preventive and some non-preventive services at no cost to consumers. Among these services include well-woman preventive care services as prescribed by the Department of Consumer and Business Services by rule consistent with guidelines published by the United States Health Resources and Services Administration.

Filed: February 26, 2018

Public hearing: March 22, 2018, 9:00 a.m.

Last day for public comment: : March 29, 2018, 5:00 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

 

Amendment to the 2019 Standard Silver Health Benefit Plan

Amend: OAR 836-053-0013

Amending for updating of standard silver health benefit plan.

Each year, the Department of Health and Human Services is required by law to update the actuarial value (AV) calculator for material changes that may include costs, plan designs, populations, developments in the function and operation of the AV calculator and other actuarially relevant factors. DCBS inputs our existing standard bronze and silver plan benefits into the newly released calculator to see if the AV for each of those plans is still within the proper range for their metal level. As a result of changes made to the federal AV calculator for 2019, the standard bronze plan AV was still in compliance, while the standard silver plan AV was too high, resulting in a need to update the silver plan benefits. Failure to update the standard silver plan would result in DCBS requiring carriers to submit plans that are illegal with respect to federal law.

Filed: February 27, 2018

Public hearing: March 22, 2018, 2:30 p.m.

Last day for public comment: : March 29, 2018, 5:00 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

 

ID 03-2018: Definitions of Coordinated Care and Case Management for Behavioral Health Care Service

Adopt: OAR 836-053-1403

Defines Case Management and Coordination of Care for Behavioral Health Care Services.

Filed: February 26, 2018

Effective: March 1, 2018

 

Documents:

Permanent Administrative Order: http://dfr.oregon.gov/laws-rules/Documents/id03-2018_rule-order.pdf

 

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

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

 

Washington — Kreidler Fines: Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler took disciplinary action and issued fines in January 2018 totaling $32,400 against the insurance industry for violations of state insurance laws. He also issued cease and desist orders against unlicensed insurance adjusters.

 

Occidental Fire & Casualty Co. of North Carolina, Raleigh, N.C.; fined $2,500, order 17-0491

The insurance company sold policies through insurance producers who were not properly licensed and failed to conduct business in its legal name.

 

AMT Warranty Corp., and Northcoast Warranty Services, Wilmington, Del.; fined $20,000, order 17-0387

Both companies, which share a parent company, provide motor vehicle service contracts in Washington state. They sold 104 service contracts using different forms than those approved.  The service contracts also charged a cancellation fee of $50 -- state law prohibits cancellation fees in excess of $25.

 

Continental Service Plan, Inc., Scottsdale, Ariz.; fined $3,500, order 17-0424

Continental is a registered vehicle service contract provider. It sold 989 unauthorized stand-alone tire and wheel service contracts to Washington consumers, for which it collected $216,213. The company also made errors on its annual report filings to the insurance commissioner from 2006 through 2015.

 

CitiFinancial Auto Corp., Irving, Texas; license revoked, order 17-0431

CitiFinancial Auto Ltd., Irving, Texas; license revoked, order 17-0473

Both companies were authorized to sell guarantee asset protection (GAP) as registered service contract providers. In 2015, they were dissolved due to a merger with

CitiFinancial Credit Co., a Delaware company that is not registered to do business in Washington state. The companies failed to notify the insurance commissioner about the merger and the new company continued to sell the product to Washington consumers. The companies also failed to notify consumers who purchased a GAP waiver that a different company owned the contracts. Further, the companies failed to notify the Washington Secretary of State about the merger and subsequent dissolutions. The insurance commissioner revoked both registrations and the companies are not allowed to sell service contracts or GAP waivers to Washington consumers.

 

Two people were ordered to cease and desist from acting as an adjuster without a license:

  Khachik Atayan, Bellevue, Wash., order 18-0013

  Keith Hanson, Burbank, Calif., order 18-0040 

 

Dennis V. Bey, Bellevue, Wash.; fined $500, order 17-0391

Bey, a licensed insurance producer, improperly sold a surplus line insurance policy to a business owner, primarily because the policy cost less than a comparable policy from a regulated insurer. Under Washington state law, insurance producers are not allowed to sell unregulated surplus line policies to clients solely to save them money. While surplus line policies sometimes cost less, they do not carry the same consumer protections as policies sold by regulated insurance companies. 

 

Albert G. McClure, Vancouver, Wash.; fined $250, order 17-0275 

McClure, a licensed insurance producer, impersonated a client in a phone call to an insurance company. The client had reported trouble canceling an insurance policy, so McClure called the company and pretended to be the client in order to get the policies canceled.

 

Rainwater Insurance, Inc., Tacoma, Wash.; issued probationary license and fined $500, order 17-0404

Rainwater Insurance is a licensed insurance producer with five locations in Washington state. A series of financial exams conducted by the insurance commissioner from 2013 until 2017 found repeated and ongoing deficiencies in the agency’s accounting and recordkeeping. As a result of the agency’s failure to implement corrections to its systems, the insurance commissioner moved its license to probationary status. If the agency fails to meet the terms of the consent order, the insurance commissioner may revoke the license.

 

Vern Fonk Insurance Services, Inc., Everett, Wash.; fined $500, order 18-0019

The agency allowed an insurance producer to issue an auto policy without the insured person’s knowledge or signature. The producer is no longer employed at the agency.

 

Western Experts in Transportation LLC, Kingston, Wash.; fined $2,000, order 17-0456

Western Experts, a licensed insurance producer, failed to remit $1.7 million in premium payments to Zurich American Insurance Co. The agency was not aware of the issue until Zurich filed a complaint with the insurance commissioner. The agency worked with Zurich to pay the premiums and no consumers’ policies lapsed as a result. The cause of the unpaid premiums was the agency’s chief financial officer suffering memory and cognitive issues. The officer has since retired.

 

Wilson Insurance, Inc., Port Townsend, Wash.; fined $250, order 17-0468

A consumer filed a complaint with the insurance commissioner when Wilson Insurance failed to pay the homeowner’s premium, causing the insurer to issue a cancelation notice to the consumer. The consumer had paid the agency, but an agency employee failed to remit the premium payment to the insurer. The agency paid the premium and the consumer was never left without coverage.

 

Bradley G. Pierce, Renton, Wash.; license revoked, order 17-0470

Pierce, a licensed insurance producer since 2013, pleaded guilty in June 2017 to a misdemeanor charge of attempted insurance fraud in connection with a 2015 auto collision. State law requires insurance producers to report criminal convictions, even if the investigation comes from the insurance commissioner. Pierce failed to report the guilty plea, and the insurance commissioner revoked his license.  

 

Boley Insurance Agency and Heather Boley, Aberdeen, Wash.; license revoked, order 17-0483

Farmers Insurance terminated the appointments of Boley and her agency in July 2016 due to several actions she took to benefit herself and her family members. She issued a $1 million umbrella policy for her brother and backdated the policy to take effect days before he was in a serious auto accident; she wrote a fire policy for her parents’ home in Washington and got them a lower rate by falsely stating that they live in the home, even though they live out of state full time; she wrote two auto policies in her parents’ names for cars they didn’t own in order to get multipolicy discounts; she manipulated the receipting system to issue policies without collecting premiums; and gave herself a discount on her own renter and auto policies by falsely indicating she was married. Farmers was not able to calculate the cost of Boley’s actions, other than collecting $945 less on her renter and auto policies as a result of her false statement about being married.

As a result of these actions, the insurance commissioner revoked both licenses.

 

Inderbir S. Sandhu, Auburn, Wash.; fined $250, order 18-0001

Sandhu applied for a producer license in Washington state and failed to disclose three misdemeanor criminal charges in 2001 and 2004. 

The following licensed insurance producers were fined for failure to report administrative action taken by another state, as required by law:

  Carl D. France, Bellevue, Wash.; fined $250, order 17-0498

  Shield Commercial Insurance Services, Inc., Palm Desert, Calif.; fined $250, order 17-0499

  Cochrane Agency, Inc., Spokane, Wash.; fined $250, order 17-0501 

  David S. Victor, Attleboro, Mass.; fined $250, order 17-0487

  William Troy Anders, Huntsville, Ala.; fined $400, order 17-0217 

  Ann M. Lewis, Lynchburg, Va.; fined $250, order 17-0502 

  AOA West, Inc. and Jason M. Rogers, Tigard, Ore; fined $250., order 17-0503 

  Jenny D. Settle, Spokane, Wash.; fined $250, order 17-0504 

 

Source link: Washington Department of Insurance

Tags:  Around the PIA Western Alliance States  Insurance Content  Insurance Industry  Insurance News  Weekly Industry News 

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