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Regulatory News

Statehouse passes H.B. 13 to update workers comp procedural fee schedules to correspond to new codes created since 2004 as well as new category II and III codes that follow the American Medical Association and Health Care Procedure Coding System. Sent to Senate.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Cal., and Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Cal., introduce Earthquake Insurance Affordability Act to allow nonprofit programs like the California Earthquake Authority to get federal loan guarantees for capital. They say it would cut CEA premiums by 30% or deductibles by 50%.

Commissioner Michael McRaith appointed head of Federal Insurance Office. He will move to D.C. job in June and will give up his role in health insurance overhaul. >> FEMA won’t decertify aging levees in southwestern part of state near St. Louis. The Army Corps of Engineers says the levees could need hundreds of millions of dollars in repairs to get to FEMA accreditation standards before new flood maps that either certify or decertify the barriers are issued.

Tom Whalen named director of Producers Division, which qualifies and oversees agents and agencies, issues licenses, gives exams, approves CE hours, and conducts background checks. Whalen has been a policy examiner in the Life Division since 2006, and before that held underwriting roles at Kansas Farm Bureau Financial Services.

First state to enact surplus lines multi-state compact (Slimpact). Under the Dodd-Frank financial reform act, 10 states must enact a law joining the compact before a commission can be formed to construct allocation formulas for sharing premium tax dollars between states, to set uniform payment methods and reporting requirements for policyholders and surplus lines brokers, and to establish national eligibility standards. Ohio and New Mexico followed with their own laws within days of Kentucky’s action.

Workers comp bureau submitted filing that results in no change to premiums until at least Sept. 2012. Insurers had requested a 6.6% increase, but attorney general’s office balked and threatened court action.

Senate passes S.B. 8, which assures state workers comp system covers occupational disease and bars employees from suing co-workers for workplace injuries. House adopted similar measure, H.B. 162.

Statehouse and Senate pass workers comp reform bill, H.B. 334, cutting rates. Supporters say WC premiums could drop 40% in three years through trimming benefits and cutting other costs. Cuts include ending medical benefits for most permanent partial disability claims 60 months after date of injury, with possible two-year extension. Bill also allows insurer to designate physician, and it mandates certain standards for evaluating permanent impairment. Labor and trial lawyers don’t like it. >> Enacts reform of captive insurance law, allowing incorporated cell captives and special-purpose captives. It also reduces required capital and surplus for association captives.

Both houses pass bill blocking taxicab companies in the state from using risk retention groups to purchase liability insurance. Bill awaits governor’s signature. National Risk Retention Association says it’s discriminatory and direct violation of federal law.

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