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Department of Insurance notifies Office of Administrative Law it intends to repeal a provision in state’s code of regulations, Section 2689.8(c)(3), that requires agents and brokers to mail privacy policies to customers annually. The mandatory opt-out form that, if returned, prevents brokers/agents from shopping for better policies from other carriers at renewal is part of repeal. >> Governor signs surplus lines bill AB 1708 into law, requiring total capital and surplus for non-admitted insurers in the state to be at least $45 million, up from $14 million. Special rules apply regarding instruments for asset holdings and for non-admitted insurers not on the List of Eligible Surplus Lines Insurers. >> AB 1837 was chaptered by the secretary of state, that is, adopted as law, permitting domestic insurers domiciled in California to perform certain admin, claims and investment services on behalf of an affiliated, non-admitted insurer that has qualified as an eligible surplus lines insurer. >> Surplus Lines Assn. of Calif. processed 15.5% less in premium for first-half 2010 than the same time 2009. Policies filed were down 4% for the same periods. U.S. domiciled insurers wrote 76.4% of the state’s surplus lines premiums. Lloyd’s wrote 17.1%. >> Court of Appeals rules that surplus lines insurers should not have to pay taxes under Section 28 of the state’s constitution because they already pay surplus line premium taxes. >> New law requires insurers disclose cancellation penalties prior to or along with application for insurance. Takes effect Jan. 1, 2012. >> Same law allows insurance commissioner to postpone market conduct exam of an insurer for up to three years under certain conditions. These exams are normally required at least once every five years.

Gov. Bill Ritter raided med mal insurance fund for $2.9 million to battle the second wildfire of the summer. The state is eligible to recoup 75% of firefighting costs from the federal government, but some of the money was spent on ancillary services and is excluded from reimbursement.

OKs average 10.3% hike in state-backed Citizens homeowners insurance rate. Rising cost of sinkhole claims is major reason for increase. The 0.3% above the statutory cap on increases is allowed to build up reserves in the Hurricane Catastrophe Fund. Rate changes vary by territory, so some may see decreases, while others will go up by double digits. >> Office of Insurance Regulation now requiring Citizens to inspect all homes requesting sinkhole coverage. If inspection is a fail, sinkhole will be excluded from policy.

FEMA is delaying implementation of new flood maps in southwestern part of state until end of 2011. It may classify levees there as incapable of withstanding a 1%-chance flood—a flood so big it has just a 1% chance of occurring in a particular year. That’s the threshold for declaring an area high-risk for flood and potentially raising flood insurance rates. >> Study shows 2006 medical fee schedule implementation had immediate effect. Growth in medical costs per WC claim was 5% in 2007 compared to a 12% average increase for the three previous years. Prices paid under fee schedule are still among the highest in the nation; so is utilization of medical services.

Non-resident producer and agency paper renewals must be done electronically as of Nov. 1. Renewal notices will also be sent electronically to email addresses filed with the Department of Insurance. Those without a valid email address with the Department will not receive renewal notices. Updates can be done through Sircon. Non-resident producers should have Social Security number ready, and agencies need employer I.D. and producer license numbers. For a change to both postal and email address, go through National Insurance Producer Registry.

Commissioner Sharon Clark appointed as a National Assn. of Insurance Commissioners’ representative to board of directors of National Insurance Producer Registry.

Gets thumbs up from Institute for Business & Home Safety for new building codes passed since Katrina and for enforcement of the codes.

Court of Appeals, the highest in the state, upholds law capping judgments for payouts on suffering. The law limits non-economic damages to just over $1 million in wrongful death claims—$725,000 otherwise.


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