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Gov. Riley signs law allowing businesses with fewer than 25 employees to deduct 150% of health insurance premiums on their state income taxes. The law also permits employees earning less than $50,000 a year to deduct 150% of their payments toward health insurance. www.aldoi.org

Representatives from the insurance industry, consumer groups and public safety offices agree to meet over the next few months to produce a plan for creating incentives for insureds to mitigate fire risk. Commissioner Poizner met with groups in June to get the ball rolling. www.insurance.ca.gov

Governor signs H.B. 1407 into law, allowing the insurance commissioner to increase sanctions against carriers who act unreasonably in the payment of claims or who violate any law, rule or order of the commissioner. >> S.B. 11 is also signed into law, mandating that insurers offer at least $5,000 of auto insurance medical payments for bodily injury, sickness or disease resulting from ownership, maintenance or use of a motor vehicle. The insured is permitted to deny the coverage offer, but a written record of the refusal must be kept by the carrier for at least three years. S.B. 11 applies to auto policies issued, delivered or renewed on or after Jan. 1. www.dora.state.co.us/insurance

The governor’s cabinet extends the 1% surcharge on auto and homeowners policies for two years, through the end of 2014. This surcharge, one of several charged to Florida insureds, began in 2007 to cover hurricane claims from the 2004-2005 hurricane season. It finances $1.35 billion in bonds that the Florida Hurricane Disaster Fund issued to cover payments of those claims. >> Florida Fourth District Court of Appeal finds for asbestos victim plaintiffs that those who filed their suits before the adoption of the Florida Asbestos and Silica Compensation Fairness Act in 2005 do not need to prove malignancy and that the act is not retroactive to them.www.floir.com

The Office of Insurance finds some discretionary clauses are interpreted by insurers too broadly and could be used to deny legitimate benefits to policyholders. The acting executive director of the Office of Insurance has notified insurers in Kentucky—via an advisory opinion—that any ambiguous terms of insurance contracts will be construed “liberally in favor of the insured.” www.doi.state.ky.us/kentucky

State House approves changes to requirements that insurers set a statewide homeowners deductible. Under the bill (S.B. 160), the Department of Insurance would map out zones in Louisiana and establish varied deductible levels for those zones based on risk. Insurers would be allowed to apply zone-based deductibles for homeowners coverage for “named storms” only. The bill also caps named-storm deductibles at 4%. The bill is back in the Senate. www.ldi.state.la.us

The Massachusetts Supreme Court rules that an employer cannot sue to recover its increased workers compensation costs from a third party in a case where that third party’s actions injure the employer’s worker and cause the employer to lose workers compensation rebates or discounts for good performance—even when the employer’s insurer recovers its costs via subrogation. This finding by the court is consistent with other jurisdictions that have considered such suits. www.mass.gov

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