Department of Insurance says p-c insurers contribute
$1.2 trillion to the state’s economy, more than 37,000
jobs, and $181.5 million in premium tax receipts. >>
Legislature votes to privatize state workers compensation
insurer beginning Jan. 1, 2013. The bill makes the State
Compensation Fund a mutual, owning all of its assets and
liabilities and subject to laws governing mutuals in the state.
It awaits the governor’s signature.
Lowell Nicholas named special projects director. He
will advise commissioner on topics including implementation of
portions of federal healthcare reform. >> John Morris
named deputy commissioner and general counsel. He was with the
Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance.
Statehouse passes HB 10-1012, mandating a reasonable
basis to suspect fraud or material misstatement to justify
surveillance of a workers comp claimant. >> SB 10-012,
which increases penalties for violations of medical prompt-pay
statute and changes the language from “willingly”
to “knowingly” violate, passes Senate and moves to
House for consideration. >> Both houses pass HB 10-1394,
which requires “the work of a construction professional
that results in property damage, including damage to the work
itself or other work, is an accident unless the property damage
is intended and expected by the insured.” Opponents say
the language would require a GL policy to function as a bond or
warranty policy, covering the quality of the work instead of
just consequential damage resulting from the work.
State Superior Court has found that Acordia, now owned
by Wells Fargo, violated its fiduciary duties by not disclosing
contingent commissions. This is the first case to go to trial
on the issue of a brokerage having a duty to disclose such
arrangements. The court also said in its decision that the
brokerage didn’t alter its fees based on the contingent
commissions and no harm was done to customers in
Gov. Crist signs bill allowing parents to sign waivers
for “inherent risks” to children at theme parks,
previously under a moratorium because the state didn’t
have a law permitting them. Move offers some limited liability
protection for the parks. >> Legislature passes omnibus
insurance bill, SB 2004, that raises minimum capital
requirements for insurers, allows more flexibility in passing
reinsurance costs on to policyholders, protects independent
agent commissions from state regulators, places a three-year
limit on claim filing time after a hurricane, and allows the
Office of Insurance Regulation to examine MGAs affiliated with
insurers it regulates. The bill, which also addresses public
adjusters, policy cancellations and other insurance concerns,
awaits Gov. Crist’s signature. >> Legislature also
passes SB 2176, a commercial lines deregulation bill, that
exempts excess and umbrella, surety and fidelity, commercial
auto, and D&O from the rate filing and approval process.
They still, however, must develop rates that are not excessive,
inadequate or unfairly discriminatory under legal standards.
The bill is with the governor.
Statehouse passes bill allowing employers with injured
workers whose workers comp insurer, Southeastern U.S.
Insurance, went belly up before paying claims to join Georgia
Insurers Insolvency Pool for claims coverage. The state Senate
has a similar bill with higher employer buy-in fees: $20,000
per claim for employers with $25 million or less net worth, and
$100,000 per claim for larger companies (compared to the House
bill’s $5,000 for smaller and $20,000 for larger
employers). The bills must be reconciled before going to the
governor for signature.
State Senate passes SB 595, which prohibits insurers
from increasing premiums or canceling/non-renewing policies
because of Chinese drywall. >> HB 285, which exempts
authorized surplus lines from filing rates and forms, passes
House on unanimous vote. Surplus lines insurers must meet
eligibility and financial requirements to be approved in the
State Supreme Court rules that state law that voids
lease provisions that require tenants to indemnify or exonerate
landlords from liability for their own negligence doesn’t
apply in a case when a commercial lease requires the tenant to
provide liability coverage for the landlord. A requirement to
buy insurance protection for a landlord isn’t the same as
indemnifying or holding harmless, says judge.
Newly passed legislation requires any hostile takeover
of small insurer be approved by two thirds of shareholders of
target company rather than simple majority.
Gov. Jay Nixon has signed into law a requirement that
health insurers pay or deny claims to doctors, hospital and
other providers within 45 days of receipt. Suspension of claims
no longer allowed. Overdue payments assessed daily penalty of
1% of the outstanding claim, payable to the healthcare