Streamlining surplus lines

July 2, 2007

Declarations

“Non-admitted insurance reform is a pro-consumer piece of legislation. HR 1065 makes it clear that the state where the policyholder resides should be the state that is in charge of regulation. … Simplifying and streamlining the insurance market will bring savings to consumers and companies doing business across state lines.”

— Ginny Brown-Waite, R-Fla, who sponsored House Bill 1065, the Nonadmitted and Reinsurance Reform Act of 2007, that is designed to help increase the efficiency of the existing state-based insurance regulatory system. Supporters say if the legislation passes, it will decrease the duplication in surplus lines regulation from state to state. The bill passed by unanimous vote in the House.

Cut out handouts

“Consumers do not approve of policies that overcharge good drivers so that bad drivers can pay less, because they reward risky drivers and result in more accidents, higher insurance claims and traffic fatalities. Consumers also do not want policies that give handouts to more affluent coastal property owners at the expense of other, often less affluent, homeowners. It is critical that state regulators and policymakers terminate unfair price regulations.”

— Steve Pociask, president of the American Consumer Institute, commenting on his organization’s “Consumer Opinions on Insurance Price Regulation” survey that determined that 80 percent of drivers and 64 percent of homeowners in non-coastal areas in Massachusetts and North Carolina disagree with state insurance pricing regulations that benefit risky drivers and homeowners in high-risk coastal areas. The survey asked 400 inland insurance consumers in each state if they were aware of cross-subsidies in automobile and homeowner premiums, and what their attitudes were toward these cross-subsidies. The majority of respondents did not believe state insurance regulations benefit consumers.

Racketeering

“They willfully caused victims of Hurricane Katrina extreme emotional and financial distress in their calculated strategy to falsify and conceal evidence, intimidate anyone who got in their way, and used their privileged position to pressure policyholders into accepting pitiful payments both before and during the mediation process.”

— Don Barrett, an attorney with the Scruggs Katrina Group, upon filing federal racketeering charges against State Farm, E.A. Renfroe Co. and Forensic Analysis and Engineering Co. on behalf of 21 Mississippi policyholders whose homes were destroyed in Hurricane Katrina. He said the law firm has proof that State Farm and its partners conspired to cheat policyholders out of millions of dollars in payments.

No change

“I’m not going to do anything different.”

— Bill Proenza, the director of the National Hurricane Center, who has been outspoken in warning about an aging satellite used for hurricane forecasting, after he was chastised by a superior for his comments. Proenza has said that the QuikScat satellite, which was launched in 1999, is showing signs of its age and certain hurricane forecasts could be up to 16 percent less accurate if it fails.

Topics Legislation Excess Surplus Hurricane Homeowners Policyholder

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Insurance Journal West July 2, 2007
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