Hurricane Sales Tax Measure Dies
An effort was mounted during Alabama Legislature meetings to grant a sales tax break on necessary supplies to prepare for a hurricane but the measure did not pass. Its sponsor Rep. Spencer Collier, R-Irvington, promises to try again next year during regular
Collier’s proposal would have exempted a number of hurricane-related purchases- batteries, tarps, weather radios and generators-from state and local sales and use taxes from June 1 to July 1, the first month of hurricane season.
$47M Hurricane Dennis Claims Paid
Insurance companies have paid out more than $47 million on about 46,000 claims for damage caused by Hurricane Dennis, according to the Office of Insurance Regulation. The report indicates insurers expect to eventually pay out more than $900 million in claims from the hurricane. More than $640 million of the claims are expected to be from Florida. Of the claims already filed more than 75 percent were in Santa Rosa, Escambia and Okaloosa counties. Santa Rosa County residents reported 18,950 claims, or about 40 percent of those filed.
Safeco Stops Writing PL Property
As of July 26, Safeco stopped writing new personal property policies in Florida and notified the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation that at the beginning of 2006, it plans to stop renewing personal lines property policies. Safeco represents 0.6 percent of the Florida personal property market-approximately 30,000 customers, according to Jim Swegle, Safeco’s vice president of Personal Lines Property. This decision will apply to all Safeco residential property policies, including homeowners, dwelling fire, renters and condominium insurance. These lines represent about one-eighth of Safeco’s business in Florida.
DFS: Bogus Homeowners Insurance
The Department of Financial Services has received reports of an unlicensed entity selling bogus homeowners insurance. Global Insurance Group, headquartered in Aventura, Fla., has been aggressively advertising that it offers the lowest windstorm insurance rates in Florida. When asked about its licensing status, a company representative reported that it sells coverage through a company named Global Property and Casualty Insurance. Neither entity is either licensed or authorized to sell insurance in Florida.
PIA of Fla. Slates Sept. ‘Hurricane Lessons,’ Legislative Summary
The Professional Insurance Agents of Florida have scheduled four meetings in September during which it will present morning “Hurricane Lessons” and an afternoon summary of Florida insurance regulations and new laws and regulations recently approved by the Florida Legislature. PIA of Florida has arranged the meeting schedule
so members and guests can have a full day
of applicable and fundamental insurance information.
PIA has scheduled meetings in the afternoon throughout the state-and has extended an invitation to the Independent Insurance Agents of Dade County, the Latin American Association of Insurance Agencies, and the National Association of Professional Allstate Agents to attend.
Meetings are scheduled Sept. 19 in Tampa, Sept. 20 in Orlando, Sept. 21 in Miami, and Sept. 27 in Pensacola, Fla. Anyone wishing to participate in these courses must register for each course separately by signing up at www.piafl.org.
Sept. LAAIA CE P/L Course
A course on “Property and Liability Insurance Principles,” is scheduled in September by the Latin American Association of Insurance Agents in Miami. The 13-week Insurance 21 P&C Liability course provides a broad foundation upon which to build a career in insurance.
Topics include: What insurance is, who provides insurance, how insurance is regulated, how financial performance of insurance is measured, marketing, underwriting, claims, insurance contracts, property loss exposures and policy provisions, liability loss exposures and policy provisions and managing loss exposures, including risk management. Passing all three parts in the series earns the student a Certificate in General Insurance.
The class starts on Sept. 8, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the Doral area. The course costs $150 for LAAIA members, including tuition and books; examination fee is extra; non-members pay $175. For more information, or to register for classes contact LAAIA, 2550 N.W. 72 Ave., Suite 318, Miami, FL 33122, 305-477-1442, or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Altering Certificates not Advised
Agents in Georgia have been contacting the Professional Insurance Agents of Georgia to discuss requests to make alterations to Georgia Certificates of Insurance. Jerry W. Duke, PIA of Georgia executive vice president has warned members that making alterations to Certificates of Insurance could be a violation of the law.
Bogus Amusement Industry Policies
Carnival and circus owners and others involved in the amusement industry are being warned to verify the status of insurance coverage, according to the Kentucky Department of Agriculture and the Kentucky Office of Insurance.
During a routine inspection, a KDA inspector received a certificate of insurance from a Covington amusement company that was later determined to be bogus. The certificate indicated coverage at Lloyd’s of London through Richard Brooks and Associates of River Forest, Ill. Lloyd’s has confirmed that the certificate was not valid and Richard Brooks and Associates has no authority to act on behalf of the underwriters at Lloyd’s. Richard Brooks and Associates is not licensed to do business in Kentucky.
Lloyd’s is asking that any business owner with liability policy documentation obtained directly or indirectly from Richard Brooks and Associates contact Wayne Wertzer at Lloyd’s America Inc. for immediate verification of the status of that coverage. The declarations page of the policy should be faxed to Wertzer at (212) 382-4070. The phone number for questions is (212) 382-4092.
Online Services Improved
Increased online services to insurance carriers, agencies and producers that do business with the Mississippi Insurance Department have been announced by Insurance Commissioner George Dale. The improvement in services is due to the department’s conversion to the completely Web-based Sircon for States System.
Mississippi has gone live on the latest version of Sircon for States, Release 4.5, which includes en-hancements such as the new Enforce-ment Case Module, support for the Non-Resident Renewal process, enhanced Financial Summary functionality to view and track select financial data for companies, enhanced search criteria for Rate and Form Filings and support for course completions by the National Producer number and license number, in addition to the Social Security number.
Task Force Targets Medicaid Fraud
Medicaid fraud consisting of financial abuses by doctors, providers and patients will be targeted by a new 10-member fraud unit being formed in North Carolina.
“We have to ensure that every Medicaid dollar is well spent,” Allen Dobson, a top assistant secretary in the Department of Health and Human Services, which oversees Medicaid told the Winston-Salem Journal. “The taxpayers of this state need to know that we are taking waste seriously.”
Medicaid is the government health insurance program for 1.5 million low-income children, elderly and the disabled in North Carolina. The state’s share of Medicaid spending totaled $2.3 billion last year.
Dobson said members of the new Medicaid fraud unit will look into allegations of fraud, scrutinize billing records and make personal visits to providers whose numbers sound off-base.
Liquidation efforts are continuing for two companies, South Carolina Insurance Company and the Consolidated American Insurance Company, according to South Carolina’s Special Deputy Liquidator J. Smith Harrison Jr.
The two companies were placed in liquidation on March 21, 2005, and according to Harrison, open claims have been distributed to the various guaranty associations.
Agents and brokers are encouraged to check with their state guaranty associations for the status of particular claims.
Commission to Oversee Workers’ Compensation
The West Virginia Insurance Commission is preparing for Jan. 1, 2006, when it will be responsible for the state workers’ compensation system, as the West Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission ceases to exist and becomes the West Virginia Employers’ Mutual Insurance Co., a private company, regulated like any other insurance carrier by Insurance Commissioner Jane Cline.
The Workers’ Compensation Fraud Unit transferred to Cline July 1, and is expected to grow from 85 employees to more than 400 by Jan. 1.
One of the challenges facing the Insurance Commission will be to establish and manage several funds such as an uninsured fund for injured workers and an adverse risk pool.