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ARKANSAS Jay Bradford begins as insurance commissioner. He was previously director of Division of Behavioral Health with the state Department of Human Services. Prior to that he worked in insurance for more than 40 years and was the founder and chairman of First Arkansas Insurance Group. >> A. Watson Bell appointed as chair of Workers Compensation Commission.
www.insurance.arkansas.gov

CALIFORNIA Commissioner Poizner proposes rollback of regulations prohibiting insurers from offsetting group disability benefits to account for pensions, workers comp or wages the policyholder receives. Poizner argues that the regulations are duplicative and add a layer of unnecessary red tape. Former commissioner and current lieutenant governor John Garamendi, who drafted the regulations in question, says their removal would be disastrous for control over insurers. Supporters say the offset proposed by Poizner would make disability coverage more affordable. >> Poizner cuts department’s operational budget 10% without layoffs, salary reductions or impact on mandated or critical programs. >> Also cuts hundreds Department of Insurance fees charged to small businesses, including insurance agents and brokers, by 6%. First time since Prop. 103 that an elected commissioner has cut fees. >> Poizner reduces special fraud assessment charged to insurers from $5,100 to $2,100, a $3.8 million savings for ratepayers.
www.insurance.ca.gov

COLORADO State House Bill 1012 proposes giving small businesses financial incentives to participate in wellness and prevention programs, permitting some of the rewards businesses lost when lawmakers prohibited premium discounts for small businesses with healthy workers back in 2007. It is moving through committee.
www.dora.state.co.us/insurance

FLORIDA State Farm pulls out of the state p-c market citing rising costs and the inability to obtain rate increases from the Office of Insurance Regulation. >> Commissioner McCarty approves 6.4% workers comp rate increase, lower than the 8.9% request from the National Council on Compensation Insurance.
www.floir.com

LOUISIANA Paul Boudreaux, Jr. named director of Insurance Fraud Section at the Department of Insurance, replacing Trent Beach who moved to director of p-c division. Boudreaux is a lawyer who has served as a special assistant attorney general. >> State breaks ground on three-mile stretch of the Morganza-to-the-Gulf hurricane protection system in Chauvin that includes 10-foot dirt levees. Projected completion is July 2010.
www.ldi.state.la.us

MARYLAND Look for upcoming legislation to address problems generated by a 2008 Maryland Court of Appeals decision that declared that the Maryland Condominium Act does not require the condominium association’s master insurance policy to cover damage to an individual unit, instead having it covered by an owner’s individual policy. ISO is involved in the formation of the bill. >> U.S. District Court dismisses former CareFirst CEO William Jews’s lawsuit that challenged Maryland insurance commissioner Ralph Tyler’s reduction of Jews’s post-termination compensation, from almost $18 million to around $9 million.
www.mdinsurance.state.md.us/

MONTANA Legislature looks to limit the liability of recreational businesses, such as whitewater rafting and skiing, saying the providers can’t be responsible for inherent risks of thrill-seeking activities. Similar legislation exists in Wyoming. The Trial Lawyers Association opposes the bill.
http://sao.mt.gov

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