Oakland is the first city in the U.S. to approve
large-scale industrial marijuana cultivation. Licensing of four
production facilities will begin in January and include a
mandate that the companies carry $2 million in liability
insurance. >> Tom Rowe named president and CEO of the
state’s workers comp fund. He was a consultant for the
p-c industry. >> Workers Compensation Insurance Rating
Bureau expects 30% rate hike request for 2011. Medical costs
still rising, and recession hasn’t lowered claims as much
State Supreme Court rules unanimously that Attorney
General Richard Blumenthal cannot publicize Brown &
Brown’s confidential business documents, which it turned
over under subpoena in a multi-year investigation on improper
contingent commissions. The court, in its reversal of two lower
court decisions, said state law bans disclosure of information
gathered in an antitrust probe “to all persons outside of
the attorney general’s office, with the exception of
officials of other states and the federal government.”
The brokerage, which hasn’t been accused of wrongdoing in
the case, brought suit after a failed attempt to negotiate a
non-disclosure agreement with the AG.
Workers comp rates drop 4.2% in NCCI filing, which
cited a change in the Special Disability Trust Fund assessment
rate, down to 1.46% from the previous 4.52%. This was the first
decrease in that assessment since 1994. >> Commissioner
Kevin McCarty has ordered 16 workers comp insurers or groups to
return over $9.4 million in excessive profits earned from 2005
to 2007 to policyholders.
John Oxendine, who resigned his post as insurance
commissioner to run for governor, lost in the primary. Fall
election will determine his replacement at the Insurance
Department. >> Fulton County judge denies request by two
insurers (State Mutual and its subsidiary Admiral Life
Insurance Company of America) to block ethics investigation
into contributions funneled in Oxendine’s campaign
through 10 Alabama-based political action committees. He was
barred from taking money directly from companies he regulated.
Oxendine returned the money, denies wrongdoing.
Gordon Ito promoted to insurance commissioner. He was
chief deputy insurance commissioner.
As of July 1, all surplus lines contracts must be
printed in black ink with at least a 12-point bold font. The
change from red-ink stamps is due to advances in electronic
signature and distribution of insurance policies. Purchasers
should be notified that surplus lines are not covered by the
state’s Insurance Guaranty Association or Life and Health
Insurance Guaranty Association.
Certificate of insurance forms must be approved by the
Insurance Division effective Sept. 1, 2010, before they can be
used. Standard ACORD and ISO certs already approved by the
Division don’t need to be filed again for approval by an
insurer, but the carrier must submit a filing that indicates it
has adopted a particular ACORD or ISO cert form. Each
certificate must contain a statement that makes clear it
doesn’t amend, extend or alter coverage and that it is
for information purposes only. See the Division’s website
for full details. >> Bulletin 10-02 issued, saying all
agents and brokers selling or soliciting annuity products in
the state must obtain four continuing education credits on
annuity products given by an approved vendor. The one-time
requirement is not a condition of license renewal. Producers
from other states may qualify by satisfying comparable training
requirements in their states.
Compensation committee of Louisiana Citizens Property
Insurance Corp. recommends $264,000 annual salary for its new
president, Richard Robertson. He was hired in July to replace
John Wortman, who retired but is helping facilitate the
transition. Robertson was general manager of Michigan Basic
Property Insurance Association in Detroit and has executive
experience in the property residual market. >> Louisiana
Workers Compensation Corp. has promoted Paul Buffone to SVP of
risk management services and David White to VP of internal
audit. >> Workers comp rate decreasing again with loss
cost filing showing 4.3% drop. It has been approved.
That’s a 40% drop since 2005. >> Legislature passes
law relating to the Louisiana Insurance Guaranty Association,
which backs claims against failed insurers. The law is based on
NAIC model act, increasing the maximum amount paid on covered
claims to $500,000 per accident or occurrence, other than
workers comp and unearned premiums. The old limit was $300,000.
The law also limits assessments on member insurers to a maximum
1% of net direct written premiums from the preceding calendar
year and allows the association to work with other states to
resolve claims in multi-state solvency events.
State’s highest court rules that property owners
can be held liable for snow-related injuries even if the
passageway has been cleared. Decision changes nearly 100 years
of case law, which has held that there is a difference between
natural and unnatural accumulations of snow and ice and that
property owners who failed to remove natural accumulations
could not be held liable for injuries. The ruling, which
mandates “reasonable care” of a property, brings
the state in line with most others in the nation on
slip-and-fall lawsuits from snow and ice. The court says its
decision is retroactive to previous suits.
State Supreme Court lowers threshold for serious
impairment of body function that must be met before a claim for
non-economic damages can be considered. It overturned its own
ruling in the widely used Kreiner case of 2004, which held that
a person’s general ability to “conduct the course
and trajectory of his or her entire normal life” had to
be impaired. The current decision says that the Kreiner ruling
overstepped the statute by imposing extra conditions on an
injury’s effects in both time and scope. Opponents of the
decision warn of increased litigation in no-fault accidents.
>> That court also ruled that state regulators exceeded
their authority in banning the use of credit scores to
determine insurance rates.