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Regulatory News

Commissioner Poizner rejects lowered workers comp rate increase request of 22.8% saying he hasn’t seen insurers implement cost control measures that self-insured employers have. Approves increase of an average 4%. >> Launches first online rating report card for PPOs that allows consumers to evaluate providers. >> Compensation Insurance Fund files for 5% average rate increase for workers comp beginning Jan. 1. >> Former commissioner John Garamendi has won a special congressional election and will replace Rep. Ellen Tauscher, who moved to the U.S. State Department. He is up for election in November.

Barbara Kelley appointed executive director of Department of Regulatory Agencies, replacing Rico Munn, who is now executive director of Department of Higher Education. >> Approves 9.7% decrease in workers comp loss costs starting Jan. 1.

State Farm comes to agreement with Office of Insurance Regulation. Insurer to stay in Florida but will non-renew about 15% of policies and raise rates 14.8%. Policyholders will be given six months advance notice starting in August. State Farm agents will also assist in placing cancelled business with other private insurers.

Warns producers that providing services not listed on an insurance contract at no cost to clients—including prospective ones—is a violation of state law if the services are a rebate on or inducement to purchase insurance. Normal client services are exempted.

U.S. Court of Appeals overturns District Court decision ruling that treaties are not an act of Congress within the meaning of the McCarran-Ferguson Act. The lower court’s decision allowed Louisiana law, which prohibits or restricts arbitration in international insurance contracts, to dominate in a case between a workers comp insurer and Lloyd’s. Lloyd’s sought arbitration over a dispute about assignment of rights. The appellate court ruled that the Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards trumps state law. An appeal is being considered. >> As of Jan. 1, all non-resident licensing and license renewal requests must be submitted electronically. >> Katharine Rathburn is new medical director for state Workers Compensation Corp.

Commissioner Ralph Tyler has resigned to take post as chief counsel at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. >> Adopts NAIC’s State-Based Systems online tool to monitor regulatory actions and compliance.

Data privacy law requiring laptops holding sensitive data to be encrypted takes effect March 1.

State legislators propose banning insurers from using credit history, education level and occupation for rate setting. Proposed law also mandates insurance commissioner sign-off on rate increases.

Fred Heese named director of the Division of Insurance Company Regulation. He has been acting director since May 2007. He now also leads the Kansas City regional office. >> Jim Mealer appointed chief examiner for the Market Conduct Section and leader of the St. Louis regional office. >> State House member Brian Yates, R-Lee’s Summit and chairman of the House Insurance Policy Committee, resigns seat to spend more time with family. He could not run for re-election because of term limits.

Farmers with hail policies from the state receive 30% refund on premiums based on actuarial findings.

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