This post is part of a series sponsored by AgentSync.
Variations in laws, compliance protocols, industry transparency and general regulatory cultures can give the impression that keeping up with changes in the industry is a bit like herding cats. So, what better way to wrangle some of the more localized insurance news than in a Regulatory Roundup?
On an ongoing basis, in no particular order or rank, we grapple with the various regulatory changes, compliance actions and commissioner decisions in our summary. As a disclaimer: There is a lot going on at any given time in these here United States, so this is not a comprehensive picture of state-level action by any means. Think of it instead as a test plate of regulation.
Louisiana cancellation and coverage with Citizens
Louisiana Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon has announced an additional 60 days for homeowners to replace coverage from liquidated Florida casualty insurance companies.
A Florida court ordered the liquidation of Weston Property & Casualty Insurance Company on August 8, 2022, which will void the insurer’s 10,300 Louisiana policies by September 7. According to the press release from Donelon’s office, during the additional 60-day period, the state Insurer Louisiana Citizens will provide coverage as insurance agents help homeowners find appropriate coverage.
United Property & Casualty Insurance, another Florida insurer, recently received a financial stability downgrade from credit rating agency Demotech. The lower rating puts the insurer outside the requirements of many mortgage-backed policies, meaning Louisiana homeowners will need to obtain different coverage to keep their mortgages under their banks’ policies. The new 60-day citizen-assisted coverage will apply to them as well.
“I encourage policyholders in Louisiana who have home insurance policies with Weston to contact an agent and begin shopping for a new policy in the private market or, if necessary, with Citizens,” Donelon said. “UPC policyholders should open all correspondence from their mortgage company if it contains a notice of involuntary coverage, in which case they should contact their agent immediately or call LDI at 800-259-5300.”
Louisiana updates CE regulations
Louisiana has issued a notice of intent, signaling that the commissioner wants to change the rules governing the state’s continuing education requirements. The amendment would, among other things, remove the state’s exemption for first-time licensees from submitting a CE within their first license renewal period. The DOI bulletin cites the state’s recent waiver of prior licensing requirements as justification.
Colorado DOI waives building regulations for Marshall Fire recovery
The Colorado Division of Insurance has issued an emergency regulation that allows policyholders to opt out of parts of their local building codes.
The Marshall Fire on December 30, 2021 burned through more than 1,000 buildings, both commercial and residential. As policyholders have filed claims to rebuild or repair homes and businesses, new building codes enacted since the original structures were completed have increased the cost of rebuilding.
Often policies limit coverage to the cost of rebuilding to the structure’s original standard. This regulation would give policyholders whose coverage is limited to choose whether to rebuild to the old standard, or build to a newer standard (which may include more out-of-pocket costs).
The regulation puts the decision in the hands of a policyholder and prohibits insurance companies from interfering in their decisions.
“Individuals affected by this fire will need access to all available claim dollars to which they are entitled under their policies,” the DOI order said. “To rebuild their lives and communities, policyholders are entitled to amounts available through their coverage laws and regulations to cover upgrades made in rebuilding their homes to conform to authorized building codes. The Division finds that this regulation will contribute to to protect and provide necessary resources to affected policyholders.”
The Illinois DOI warns about responses to background questions for the application
Illinois Department of Insurance (DOI) Director Dana Popish Severinghaus issued a warning to would-be producers applying for a license in the state about the importance of answering background questions correctly.
The notice claims that DOI employees are seeing “a significant number of license applications that contain incorrect answers to background questions.”
It specifically deals with two issues of criminal background, from misdemeanors to felonies, military crimes, or administrative proceedings such as FINRA sanctions.
“Please be aware that the Illinois Department of Insurance will evaluate and consider the individual circumstances regarding any possible answers. Answering a question incorrectly may be more concerning than the circumstances requiring a ‘YES’ answer,” the notice said.
As DOI notes, Illinois has access to the NAIC’s list of regulatory actions. Reading between the lines, the state is trying to tell applicants that they are much better off reporting past misdemeanors accurately and having a discussion with the Illinois DOI than lying. Past wrongdoing can be explained, learned from, and forgiven; lying about your past instead means you are currently still a liar-McLiarPants.
Reviewing your agents’ background questions can be time-consuming. Learn how AgentSync can help through robust reporting and tracking of background issues.
Other government updates
Kansas voted in March to license pharmacy benefit managers, and starting in October 2022, the state will have a Pharmacy Benefit Manager license class to match in the National Insurance Producer Registry.
California approved revisions to the curriculum and topics required for the eight-hour course the state mandates for producers who sell long-term care insurance.
Maryland issued a bulletin that allowed excess lines brokers to charge insurance fees and outlined details of how much, when and how to report those fees for tax purposes.
Georgia, meanwhile, has issued Directive 22-EX-4 which specifically clarifies that it is prohibited to collect excess insurance for charges beyond those specified in the policy.
North Carolina has issued a data call to property and casualty carriers who write personal auto and home insurance policies and updated state meeting fees from $10 to $11.
Washington extended its order covering coverage of coronavirus vaccination counseling and requiring insurers to waive co-payments and deductibles for coronavirus tests for another month, through most of September.
New York approved the Excess Lines Association of New York’s (ELANY) request to lower its stamp duty to 0.15 percent.
Colorado Insurance Commissioner Michael Conway was honored by One Colorado with a 2022 Prism Award, recognizing him for his work on behalf of the LGBTQ community in becoming the first state to explicitly include gender-affirming care as a mandatory benefit in commercial health insurance.
Georgia does not currently allow the “Agent – Georgia Access” application electronically, possibly waiting until the state’s clash with the federal government over the Georgia Access model is resolved.
New Mexico warned licensees to be wary of scammers claiming to be from government agencies trolling for sensitive information.
Hawaii has announced new training requirements for producers who sell annuities. For producers licensed before the end of 2022, the new training must be completed by July 1, 2023.
Massachusetts passed a law in late July to require abortion coverage in health insurance plans without copays for health insurance outside of specific church-controlled organizations with exceptions and plans that require copays to maintain a specific tax status.
While these points of interest are not comprehensive, our knowledge of producer licensing and compliance maintenance is. See how AgentSync can help you look smarter today.
Legislation claims Louisiana homeowners Colorado Illinois