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Workers comp rates expected to fall about 7% starting July 1.

Workers Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau of California wants approval for 23.7% rate increase effective July 1. That’s a .7% reduction in a previously announced rate request based on revisions in financial data previously submitted. Commissioner Poizner has stated his skepticism over the data and says a review of the whole process is in order.

Commissioner Sullivan warns insurance industry that it’s illegal to get consumers to switch companies by misleading them about the financial health of competitors. He says the Insurance Department will be investigating violations and holding companies responsible for actions of agents.

State Rep. William Proctor, R-St. Augustine, sponsors House Bill 1171, which he says will permit financially strong property insurers to offer policies to consumers at market-based, actuarially sound rates. He says the Insurance Department’s regulation is overly burdensome and drives out competition. >> State House approves HB 1495 allowing gradual rate hikes for state-backed Citizens Property Insurance up to actuarially sound rates. The same bill phases out about $12 billion in reinsurance to private insurers provided by the Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund. >> State House passes bill allowing insurance companies (and other businesses) to get the same kind of credit they get against premium taxes collected from customers for donating to a private-school voucher program for children from low-income families. >> Credit loosens, allowing state to sell at least $5 billion in bonds, if needed, to back Hurricane Cat Fund.

University of Hawaii will conduct feasibility study to see about starting an owner-controlled insurance program to provide insurance coverage for contractors and subcontractors in the university system. The system will undergo nearly a half billion dollars in construction work in the next two years. The university is looking to save $5 million to $10 million by providing its own workers comp, employers liability, general liability, excess liability and builders risk.

Reminding producers that obtaining client signatures on “producer of record letters” must be handled properly. Notes instances where clients are being required to sign to obtain a rate quote, even for comparison purposes, or where key information is added by the producer after the client signs. Administrative actions are threatened for violators. >> Passes new laws overriding Bulletin 09-01, which discusses coverage for motorbikes and all-terrain and utility vehicles. That bulletin is rescinded, and the new laws can be reviewed at

In asbestos litigation case Nolan vs. Weil-McLain, the state Supreme Court ordered a new trial and allows evidence of prior asbestos exposure, overturning bans on the evidence set by lower courts. This is a clarification of the “Lipke rule” and may arise as a precedent in later asbestos cases.

Gov. Culver signs law mandating insurers cover prosthetic devices if they are medically necessary. Law applies to state-regulated health insurance policies.

Commissioner Donelon says residents are cutting back on home and auto insurance to save money. Majority of state’s drivers are either under- or completely uninsured, with 12% carrying no auto insurance.

Proposed state-healthcare funding model would impose 2.14% surcharge on claims paid by insurers and third party administrators. It would replace the current assessments that don’t provide enough revenue to the state fund, DirigoChoice.

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