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Commissioner Linda Hall announces retirement for this spring after the legislative session ends. She has been commissioner for nine years.

More than half of members on task force reviewing privatization of state-backed workers compensation company say they are opposed or neutral to taking the program private.

Gov. Dannel Malloy’s budget has money to staff the division in the Insurance Department that was set up to regulate companies that specialize in captive insurance. Malloy wants the legislature to create a $7,500 tax credit for a captive insurer’s first year in business and modify other requirements. >> Commissioner Thomas Leonardi has signed cooperation agreement with Germany, the department’s third international regulatory cooperation agreement. The other two are with Switzerland and the Netherlands. He has also applied to be a signatory of the International Association of Insurance Supervisors memorandum of understanding on cooperation. If approved, Connecticut would be the first U.S. state to sign on with the 21 international jurisdictions already party to the agreement. >> Leonardi appointed an NAIC representative on the board of directors of the National Insurance Producer Registry.

New digital flood insurance rate maps are coming for Maui and Lanai on Sept. 19, 2012. Properties currently within the low or moderate risk zones may be grandfathered into a lower premium if flood insurance is bought before the property’s reclassification into a higher risk area.

House kills bill allowing Department of Insurance to review health insurer rate increases and grade them as too high or too low. Opponents said it would have allowed too much proprietary information to be released to competitors. Because the law cited federal code, changes in federal law would immediately have changed state insurance law, which some legislators objected to as unconstitutional. The rejection of the bill, however, means that the feds will take over some of the health insurance rate review process.

Officials are encouraging everyone to get a weather-alert radio, which issues a notification when severe weather is approaching.

Denham Springs approves changes to flood ordinances, allowing it to keep access to federal flood insurance. The changes require all construction or substantial improvements within the city to be built with materials that resist flood damage and to have adequate anchoring so they don’t float in floodwaters. >> Ex-legislator Noble Ellington joins Department of Insurance as chief deputy to the commissioner. The 69-year-old cotton merchant didn’t seek reelection in November after having served in either the House or the Senate since 1988. He was on the House Insurance Committee for the last four years of his term.

Workers Compensation Rating and Inspection Bureau of Massachusetts asked for average rate increase of 19.3%, effective September 2012. The commonwealth has rejected single-digit increase requests over the past three years. Need for hike driven by growing medical and wage replacement costs and longer leave taken by comp claimants. >> Commissioner Joseph Murphy elected to NAIC’s executive committee and named chair of Northeast chapter. He will be on the government relations council for 2012 and help develop the NAIC’s legislative and regulatory agendas.

Fireworks retailers have filed suit in U.S. District Court in Detroit, asking that a state law, effective Jan. 1, requiring them to obtain $10 million in liability insurance if they want to sell fireworks that shoot into the air, including Roman candles, be overturned as unconstitutional. They say it puts smaller companies that can’t afford that amount of coverage at a disadvantage.

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