State by state variations of laws, compliance protocols, industry transparency, and general regulatory cultures can lend one the impression that keeping up with industry changes is a little 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’re wrestling the various regulatory changes, compliance actions, and commissioner decisions into our roundup. As a disclaimer: There’s a lot going on at any given time in these here United States, so this isn’t a comprehensive picture of state-level action by any means. Think of it as, instead, a sampler platter of regulation.
Also important to note: If we’re recapping interpretations of legal decisions, this is some armchair insurance speculation and not at all legal advice. If you need legal advice, get a lawyer.
Congratulations to Florida Insurance Commissioner Michael Yaworsky!
March 13, 2023, the Florida Financial Services Commission fully appointed Michael Yaworsky to the position of Insurance Commissioner.
The commission comprises members such as Florida CFO Jimmy Patronis and Gov. Ron DeSantis, and appointed Yaworsky after DeSantis first nominated him as the interim in February.
Yaworsky follows former Insurance Commissioner David Altmaier and will have his work cut out for him as he takes the helm of a state that has overhauled its regulations – not once but twice – following fraudulent shenanigans and weather disasters.
“I’m honored to have the opportunity to serve Florida as Insurance Commissioner, and I want to thank Governor DeSantis and the Financial Services Commission for their support,” said Yaworsky in a department news release. “Florida’s insurance market is one of the largest in the world and plays a vital role in our state. As Insurance Commissioner, I look forward to ensuring OIR remains steadfast in our commitment to promote a stable and competitive insurance market for all Floridians.”
Yaworsky has served in a variety of positions throughout the state governments of Florida and Georgia and was most recently the Vice Chairman of the Florida Gaming Control Commission.
For more on how our insurance commissioners get appointed or elected or whatnot, check out our blog.
Washington finalizes proposed rule for P&C premium change transparency
Washington’s Office of the Insurance Commissioner finalized the language on its proposed rule for premium change transparency. The rule will require insurers to take a proactive approach to informing consumers about premium increases as well as disclosing more about underwriting criteria.
The gist of the rule is that insurance carriers will need to move toward systems that provide more pricing transparency both to consumers and even internally. The OIC hinted that even insurance carrier staff members aren’t sure about the reason for price increases.
“We learned that some insurers’ rating formulas have become so complex, they can’t readily specify the reasons behind someone’s premium change. Some insurers’ computer systems are unable to generate a clear answer,” said the news release.
Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler explained that, to the Washington OIC, it’s not sufficient to tell consumers their premiums are rising; insurers must explain why, and in plain language.
“If your insurance company is going to increase your premium, you have a right to know why,” said Kreidler. “This is pretty basic information you should expect from your insurance company, but we hear from hundreds of consumers every year who cannot get a straight answer on why they’re being charged more.”
The rule applies to property and casualty insurers that sell auto and homeowner’s coverage, and will take effect in two waves.
- From June 1, 2024, to June 1, 2027, if policyholders ask about a premium increase at renewal, the insurer has to give them “reasonable explanations in plain language.”
- From June 1, 2027, moving forward, a carrier has to provide a notice explaining “the primary factors behind the increase” to any policyholders whose premiums increase 10 percent or more, or to any policyholder who asks.
Michigan moves to protect LGBTQ+ community from insurance, financial discrimination
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed a bill amending the state’s Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act of 1976 to include sexual orientation and gender identity or expression. With their addition, these are now protected civil rights. This move outlaws discrimination against someone’s sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression for the purpose of employment, housing, public service, or education.
The governor’s signing to amend ELCRA prompted Department of Insurance and Financial Services Director Anita Fox to issue a bulletin notifying the insurance and financial services industries of the bill’s impact.
“DIFS will continue to protect the rights of Michigan residents regardless of their gender identity, sexual orientation, or sex, and this new bulletin is a clear affirmation of that commitment,” said Fox in a news release. “Ensuring equitable access to insurance and financial services for all Michiganders is not only good for the state’s economy, it is simply the right thing to do. DIFS’ staff stands ready to assist all Michiganders with their insurance and financial needs in 2023 and beyond.”
The news release also noted that DIFS regulations from 2020 already included this protection, but that its addition to state law provides stronger coverage.
According to the news release, the new law ensures “all financial service and insurance entities regulated by DIFS, including health insurance plans, cannot deny access, limit benefits, impose additional cost-sharing, or engage in discriminatory marketing practices based on an individual’s sex, which now explicitly includes gender identity and sexual orientation.”
Other Michigan updates
- The department issued a bulletin to notify health insurance carriers of what they need to do to comply with 2022’s Public Act 60. Public Act 60 is Michigan’s legislation that requires insurers to provide a standardized electronic process for health care providers to use for prior authorization requests. Insurers subject to this requirement must file their process in the System for Electronic Rates and Forms Filing (SERFF) system by May 1, 2023, and must have their systems “fully operational” by June 1, 2023.
- The state has also more than doubled its bond requirement for insurance companies that offer surety bonds to vehicle dealers from $10,000 to $25,000.
Other state changes
Nebraska’s deadline for carrier terminations is April 25, 2023. Any appointments a carrier or MGA doesn’t terminate via NIPR by then will appear on the renewal invoice. Appointment renewal invoices will be open for payment via NIPR May 1 to July 31, 2023. (If you want more about appointment calendar dates, check out our very cool wrap up of those deadlines.)
Delaware issued bulletin No. 138 to help health insurance carriers understand how to comply with the state’s 2023 Affordability Standards Data Submission template, including deadlines and recommendations for which regulations can help inform your submission.
California Department of Insurance as of March 1, 2023, requires insurance education providers to make one hour of producers’ required continuing education credits in ethics include a study of insurance fraud.
Alabama announced the qualified health plan deadlines for rate filings at the state and federal levels. For the complete time table, check out the bulletin, and for guidance on proposed rate filings, check out the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid resources.
Tennessee no longer requires insurance producers to complete pre-licensing coursework.
While these points of interest aren’t comprehensive, our knowledge of producer license and compliance maintenance is. See how AgentSync can help make you look smarter today; head over to the Compliance Library and wrastle up some state-by-state regulation and more jurisdictional updates.