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Regulatory News

State Compensation Insurance Fund names Shaun Coyne chief information officer. He was VP and CIO of Toyota Financial Services in Torrance, Calif. >> Commissioner Poizner probes insurer ties to Iran and encourages fellow regulators to do the same. California law prohibits insurers based in the state from investing in countries designated as state sponsors of terrorism. Poizner looking at level of indirect as well as direct investments.

Fight between lawmakers and state workers comp insurer continues. Legislature heard dozens of complaints of unfair claims practices and says more oversight is needed. Bills are under consideration. Pinnacol, the insurer, says it’s sour grapes because the profitable company wouldn’t hand over some $680 million in surplus to help balance the state budget.

Signs memorandum of understanding with Bermuda Monetary Authority to establish formal basis for consultation, cooperation and coordination on sharing of information on insurance companies of mutual interest.

Workers comp rates drop for fifth consecutive year. Request filed for 4.1% decrease affects premiums beginning Jan. 1.

Has begun accepting producer documents through new NIPR Reporting of Actions feature in its Attachments Warehouse online reporting system. Documentation received via this portal will satisfy statutory reporting requirements in the state.

Names Larry Ferachi, M.D., as medical director for Office of Workers Compensation. His appointment is another step toward establishing evidence-based medical treatment guidelines for workers comp benefits, which are intended to aid dispute resolutions and reduce the time injured employees spend out of work. >> Upcoming Corp of Engineers rating, expected to be “unacceptable,” on Ouachita River levee system could lead to de-certification of the system by FEMA. Such an action would mean Monroe property owners would be required to buy federal flood insurance. There are numerous bank cave-ins along the levee, but there’s no money for repairs.

Commissioner Nonnie Burnes resigns to accept senior fellow position at Northeastern University, where she will help develop curriculum focused on government regulation, public policy, law and business. Joseph Murphy is serving as acting commissioner. >> Sets up website that allows users to verify proof of workers comp insurance for businesses. Thirty-six other states have similar sites.

Joins NAIC Web-based application, SBS, to regulate insurance functions. It also signs up for OPTins, an NAIC tool to automate regulatory compliance and facilitate the collection of premium taxes.

Insurance Department’s broker transparency rule nears approval. Requires producers to notify buyers of their right to request information on comp from insurers. Opponents complain brokerages would have to overhaul their systems to comply with the disclosure rules. Proponents want producers to disclose compensation automatically, without client requests. >> Dennis Hayes appointed special deputy superintendent of the Liquidation Bureau. >> Insurance Department revises export list of hard-to-place p-c coverage adding several lines that require no declinations, such as commercial excess liability where underlying policy limit or self-insured retention is at least $10 million per occurrence. Adds liability coverage for lawyers employed by a business entity, not a law firm. Changes declination requirement for primary or excess E&O to two refusals.

Enacts new law allowing businesses that use professional employer organizations to sponsor their own benefit plans. Regulation and oversight of self-funded plans also bolstered.

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