Cellphone Ban in Phoenix: The city of Phoenix has put a ban on cellphone use while driving. The fine is $250 for the first violation and it goes up from there. Unlike some states and cities with phone bans, Phoenix considers driving and talking or texting as a primary offense and police can stop drivers just for that issue.
The city didn’t do an outright ban. Worries that it would become a target of the Legislature’s overturning similar pre-emption laws is the reason. Mayor Sharon Wolcott said the Arizona League of Cities and Towns think the local laws being passed can be imposed.
The Legislature doesn’t seem to want a ban. A law similar to that enacted by Phoenix passed the Senate but died in the House. That has led to a bunch of different local laws and some in the Legislature are concerned about the “unfairness” of some of these local laws.
State Rep. Steve Farley, of Tucson wants a state law because he thinks the local laws are unfair to drivers.
“We wanted to make darn certain it [the Phoenix ban] wasn’t an issue of pre-emption,” Wolcott said.
Source link: Insurance Journal
Power Company & Wildfires
Southern California Edison says it needs $582 million to make improvements that will make its equipment more wildfire proof. That money will come from ratepayers.
That means higher bills.
Wildfire liability is the concern of the power companies and to protect themselves from huge losses, improvements need to happen. To get that rate increase and make improvements to towers and power lines, Edison needs permission from the state.
Expect more similar requests from power companies in the near future.
Source link: The Los Angeles Times
Department of Insurance Bans NRA Insurance: The California Department of Insurance has told the National Rifle Association that it must stop selling insurance policies that cover the legal cost of injury or damage done when using a gun legally. The policy is called the Self-Defense Insurance Policy and it comes with the NRA's Carry Guard membership program.
There are 2,400 policyholders in California. Violations will get a $5,000 a day fine.
Source link: CBS News
SAIF Dividends: Oregon’s workers’ compensation program SAIF has declared two dividends for its customers. The board of directors said a $120 million primary dividend is being paid to policyholders and a second dividend of $40 million has been paid to policyholders for successful safety policies.
The is SAIF’s ninth-straight substantial return.
Source link: Insurance Journal
From the Department of Insurance: Workers’ Compensation Rate Change Notice
1. The Department of Consumer and Business Services has announced a 9.7 percent average reduction in pure premium rates for employers in 2019. For more information go to: https://www.oregon.gov/newsroom/Pages/NewsDetail.aspx?newsid=2918.
2. Caption: 2019 Workers' Compensation Premium Assessment Rates
Each year, the Department of Consumer and Business Services adopts by rule the workers' compensation premium assessment rate that is paid by all employers to fund workers' compensation and workplace safety and health programs. In the “Notice of Proposed Rulemaking Hearing,” filed with the Secretary of State on Aug. 27, 2018, the department explained that a proposed premium assessment rate would be announced by the middle of September.
Based on economic forecasts, department analysts recommend a premium assessment rate of 7.8 percent. The proposed increase from 7.4 percent to 7.8 percent will allow the department to maintain current service levels throughout 2019. Please refer to Exhibit 1.
Additional assessments to fund the Self-Insured Employer Adjustment Reserve and Self-Insured Employer Group Adjustment Reserve are expected to remain unchanged from 2018 levels. However, these too are proposed rates and are subject to change during the rulemaking process. Please refer to Exhibit 2.
A hearing on the proposed workers' compensation premium assessment rates will be held at 3 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 20, 2018, in Room F (Basement) of the Labor & Industries Building, 350 Winter St. NE, Salem, Oregon. Written testimony will be accepted through 5 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 27, 2018, by the Director's Office of the Department of Consumer and Business Services, 350 Winter St. NE, P.O. Box 14480, Salem, OR 97309-0405.
Text of the proposed rules, as well as the other rulemaking documents, can be found at: https://www.oregon.gov/dcbs/cost/Pages/rulemaking.aspx.
Address questions to Amy Hilgemann, Rules Coordinator; phone 503-947-7872; fax 503-378-5969; or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Update: Proposed Workers' Benefit Fund (WBF) assessment rate:
In a recently issued notice of proposed rulemaking hearing, the Workers' Compensation Division announced that the proposed assessment rate would be published by the middle of September.
In a news release dated Sept. 10, 2018, the department announced that the proposed 2019 WBF assessment rate is 2.4 cents per hour worked, a decrease of 0.4 cents from the current rate of 2.8 cents per hour. Please review also Exhibit 1, "Workers' Benefit Fund Assessment Recommendation for CY 2019." The news release also explained that the average cost of workers' compensation insurance coverage in 2019 will go down.
Sept. 20, 2018, 4 p.m.
350 Winter Street NE, Room F (basement)
Salem, Oregon 97301
Send written comments to:
Email – email@example.com
Fred Bruyns, rules coordinator
Workers’ Compensation Division
350 Winter Street NE (for courier or in-person delivery)
PO Box 14480, Salem, OR 97309-0405
Fax – 503-947-7514
The public may also listen to the hearing or testify by telephone: Dial-in number is 1-213-787-0529; Access code is 9221262#.
The closing date for written comments is Sept. 27, 2018, 5 p.m.
If you would prefer to receive notifications of rulemaking hearings and meetings by text messages, please sign up here: https://service.govdelivery.com/accounts/ORDCBS/ subscriber/new - Next to "Subscription Type," select "SMS/Text Message."
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.pdf — https://content.govdelivery.com/attachments/ORDCBS/2018/09/10/file_attachments/1069511/bulletin2018-07.pdf
Workers' compensation costs to drop for sixth-straight year:
Oregon employers next year, on average, will pay $1.12 per $100 of payroll for workers’ compensation insurance, down from $1.23 in 2018, under a proposal by the Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services (DCBS). That figure covers workers’ compensation claims costs, assessments, and insurer profit and expenses.
This will mark the sixth year in a row that businesses will experience an average decrease in their workers’ compensation costs. Those costs have steadily declined over the years – even as workers continue to receive strong benefits – because of Oregon’s long-running success in managing the workers’ compensation system.
“Everyone from employers and workers to insurers and government has played a role in making workplaces safer and keeping business costs low,” said Cameron Smith, DCBS director. “As the numbers show, Oregon’s comprehensive approach continues to pay off.”
Part of Oregon’s success stems from efforts by the Workers’ Compensation Division. Those efforts include enforcing requirements that employers carry insurance for their workers, keeping medical costs under control, and helping injured workers return to work sooner and earn their pre-injury wages. Another part is Oregon OSHA’s focus on preventing on-the-job injuries by enforcing workplace safety and health rules, and advising employers about how to improve worker safety and health.
Employers’ cost for workers’ compensation insurance covers the pure premium and insurer profit and expenses, plus the premium assessment. Employers also pay the Workers’ Benefit Fund assessment, which is a cents-per-hour-worked rate.
The pure premium rate – filed by a national rate-setting organization and approved by DCBS – is the base rate insurers use to determine how much employers must pay for medical claims and lost wages. Under DCBS’s proposal for next year, the pure premium would drop by an average 9.7 percent. In fact, the pure premium will have declined by an average of 40 percent during the 2013 to 2019 period.
Pure premium is the key factor behind annual cost changes. The decrease is an average, so an individual employer may see a larger or smaller decrease, no change, or even an increase depending on the employer’s own industry, claims experience, and payroll. Also, pure premium does not take into account the varying expenses and profit of insurers.
Driving the average decrease in the pure premium are lower medical care costs and less severe claims. Underpinning the steady decline in pure premium are the successful efforts of the Workers’ Compensation Division, Oregon OSHA, the Workers’ Compensation Board – which resolves disputes over the state’s workers’ compensation and workplace safety laws – and injured worker and small business advocacy services.
Those programs are funded by the premium assessment.
The premium assessment is a percentage of the workers’ compensation insurance premium employers pay. It is added to the premium. It would increase from 7.4 percent this year to 7.8 percent in 2019. The increase is needed to partially offset the decline in pure premium and to keep pace with a growing economy. This modest increase maintains stable funding for state workers’ compensation regulation and worker protection programs that preserve historically low costs.
The Workers’ Benefit Fund assessment provides benefit increases to permanently disabled workers and to families of workers who died from a workplace injury or disease. It also supports Oregon’s efforts to help injured workers return to work sooner – through incentive programs to employers – and earn their pre-injury wages.
The fund’s revenue comes from a cents-per-hour-worked assessment. It would decrease from 2.8 cents per hour worked in 2018 to 2.4 cents per hour worked in 2019. The fund is healthy, made so by a growing economy, which allows the rate to be reduced.
The decrease in the pure premium is effective Jan. 1, 2019, but employers will see the changes when they renew their policies in 2019. The assessment changes are effective Jan. 1, 2019.
Oregon’s workers’ compensation premium rates have ranked low nationally for many years. Oregon had the seventh least expensive rates in 2016, according to a nationally recognized biennial study conducted by DCBS. That was an improvement from Oregon’s ranking as the ninth least expensive state the last time the study was done, in 2014.
The following chart summarizes all of the changes and includes the date, time, and place of the assessment public hearings: https://www.oregon.gov/DCBS/cost/Documents/wc-summary.pdf
Annual Oregon average pure premium rate changes and average changes by industry: https://www.oregon.gov/DCBS/cost/Documents/pure-premium-rate.pdf
More information about Oregon workers’ compensation costs: http://www.oregon.gov/DCBS/cost/Pages/index.aspx
From the Department of Insurance: Kreidler approves 7 insurers, 13.8% rate increase for Washington's health exchange
Washington state Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler approved seven health insurers to sell 40 health plans for 2019 in Washington state's Exchange, Washington Healthplanfinder. The average approved rate for insurers that sell inside the Exchange is 13.8 percent. Plans will be available in all counties. Insurers initially requested a 19.8 percent rate increase.
Source link: Washington Department of Insurance
Notice to start rulemaking on charitable gift annuities
We are starting rule making R 2018-13 to update and clarify accounting requirements for the definition of unrestricted net assets for charities that issue charitable gift annuities.
Comments are due October 19, 2018; please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information, including the notice to start rulemaking (CR-101), please visit the rule's webpage. — https://www.insurance.wa.gov/charitable-gift-annuities-r-2018-13?utm_content=&utm_medium=email&utm_name=&utm_source=govdelivery&utm_term=
Notice of rule making on adjuster licensing education
We are considering rulemaking R 2018-14 to create new and amend some existing sections of WAC 284-17-123 to clarify the special education condition found in RCW 48.17.380(3)(d) for an adjuster license candidate.
Comments are due by October 15, 2018; please send them to email@example.com.
For more information, including the notice to start rulemaking (CR-101), please visit the rule's webpage. — https://www.insurance.wa.gov/adjuster-licensing-special-education-criteria-r-2018-14?utm_content=&utm_medium=email&utm_name=&utm_source=govdelivery&utm_term=