A Pennsylvania-based insurer was recently fined $152,000 for breaches of Connecticut insurance laws. Connecticut Insurance Commissioner Andrew N. Mais fined AmGUARD Insurance Company (“AmGUARD") after a market conduct examination found it to be in violation of multiple provisions of state law. AmGUARD is licensed to transact property and casualty insurance in Connecticut.
The Department's Market Conduct Unit discovered the violations during a routine examination of AmGUARD in 2018. The Market Conduct Unit performs examinations and investigations of insurance companies and individual licensees to ensure that the insurance market and the individual companies meet and service the needs of Connecticut consumers. The examination found that AmGUARD did not establish proper practices and procedures to ensure compliance with the law. A review of AmGUARD's records found that —among other issues—certain producers were selling, soliciting or negotiating coverage without proper licensure and/or proper appointments.
Commissioner Mais said, “Compliance with our laws and regulations is not optional and I take these violations very seriously. Consumer protection is the Connecticut Insurance Department's top priority. Ensuring compliance with our laws and regulations is just one way that I can let consumers know the products they are purchasing have the full regulatory protections provided in the State of Connecticut and let industry know that Connecticut is a state with a fair and competitive regulatory environment."
The Consent Order additionally requires that AmGUARD will undertake a complete review of the practices and procedures found to be in violation of Connecticut insurance laws and provide the Insurance Commissioner with a full report of its findings and actions taken to be in compliance. The stipulation and consent order may be found here.
WarrenC Ruppar attends press conference at the invitation of Insurance
Commissioner Andrew Mais to announce the availability of Spanish Language
Insurance Licensing Exams.
Deputy Speaker Representative Chris Rosario CD-Bridgeport) joined with House and Senate Chairs of the Insurance and Real Estate Committee Representative Sean Scanlon CD - Branford, Guilford) and Senator Matthew L. Lesser CD-Middletown, Cromwell, Newington, Rocky Hill & Wethersfield) and Insurance Commissioner Andrew N. Mais today to announce the implementation of Spanish language version of insurance producer licensing exams.
Beginning on October I, 2019, insurance producers will have the option of taking licensing examinations in Spanish.
House Bill #6091, introduced by Representative Rosario this session, called for the Insurance Commissioner to offer English and Spanish language versions of insurance producer licensing exams examinations administered to certain applicants for licenses.
In working with legislators, Commissioner Mais found that it would be quicker to implement this important goal administratively.
"I thank and commend Commissioner Mais for his initiative and willingness to implement the Spanish language exams without the need for legislation," Rep. Rosario said. "This measure will open doors for those seeking to acquire their licenses and will increase services to a segment of the population that can benefit from Spanish speaking agents."
"I want to thank Rep. Rosario for introducing this bill and Commissioner Mais for his leadership in proactively making this common sense change. Offering licensing examinations in the second most commonly spoken language in Connecticut will lead to more professional opportunities and better customer service for Spanish speakers across our state and that's something we are proud to celebrate today," said Rep. Scanlon.
"Spanish speaking residents of Connecticut need access to insurance just as much as every other resident - as homeowners, drivers, health care consumers and small business people," said Sen. Lesser. "This initiative is good for business, it's good for Connecticut's residents, and it's good for our economy. I'm thrilled, as co-Chair of the Insurance Committee - but also as the son of a Spanish-speaking immigrant from South America - that Commissioner Mais is taking the lead on this initiative. I also want to thank Rep. Chris Rosario for proposing this legislation to begin with."
"I am pleased to stand with my legislative colleagues in announcing this important initiative. Inclusion is a core value for Governor Lamont and Lieutenant Governor Bysiewicz. Inclusion in insurance is important to both me and the Connecticut Insurance Department and this is just one example of how we can continue to be inclusive to both insurance producers and insurance consumers in Connecticut," Commissioner Mais said.
The Connecticut Insurance Department has updated a notice directing insurers to not cancel or non-renew an affected homeowner's insurance coverage as a result of a foundation found to be crumbling or otherwise deteriorating. This notice was sent to all insurers writing homeowners and condominium insurance in Connecticut, and is intended to protect Connecticut residents affected by crumbling foundations. The notice was initially issued in October 2015 and updated in January 2017 to extend the same protections to condominium associations' master insurance policies.
The notice can be accessed here - Crumbling Foundations Notice.
“It has come to my attention that affected homeowners who have filed a claim on their insurance policy because of a crumbling foundation or suspicion of having a crumbling foundation, or even just made an inquiry to their insurer on the topic, could have this held against them. I am taking this opportunity to inform both insurers and homeowners that this will not be allowed. Homeowners should not be afraid to file a claim or ask a question related to crumbling foundations. Under this notice, the denial that you are required to present to the Connecticut Foundation Solutions Indemnity Company to receive funding will not be held against you,"Commissioner Mais said.
The updated notice:
- Reminds carriers that state law prohibits cancelling or non-renewing a policy or increasing a policy's premium based solely on inquiries or a claim made on their insurance policy,
- Instructs insurers that the use of a Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange (“CLUE") report or any other similar source of claim-related information concerning a crumbling foundation inquiry or claim will be prohibited in connection with underwriting, pricing and/or surcharging new or renewal business, and
- Informs insurers that the Department will not approve company underwriting rules or guidelines that would allow a homeowner to be cancelled or non-renewed or have a premium increase based solely on unrepaired crumbling foundation damage or on the property's crumbling foundation being in a current state of unrepair or under repair.
“This provides homeowners with additional reassurance that their premiums will not be increased nor will their policies be cancelled or non-renewed because of a crumbling foundations-related claim or inquiry to their insurance company. I want to again encourage my fellow Connecticut residents in the affected areas to reach out to the Insurance Department's Consumer Affairs Unit at any time with any questions or inquiries," Commissioner Mais said
Affected homeowners can apply for funds from the Connecticut Foundation Solutions Indemnity Company, Inc. on their website at crumblingfoundations.org.
A Reminder – As of 01-01-2019, the maximum wage for an active officer included on a workers' compensation policy for businesses that operate in the State of Connecticut, has stayed at $2,600 per week, same as last years' maximum, per active officer.
The minimum payroll for an active officer has stayed the same at $1,300 per week.
The fixed amount to include for either covered partners or sole proprietors has decreased to $67,500, from last year's minimum of $68,300.
PAYROLL LIMITATION RULES - STATE OF CONNECTICUT
WORKERS' COMPENSATION – IN EFFECT AS OF 01-01-19
Not covered unless they opt in. Fixed Amount is $67,500.
Automatic coverage, if one opts out all must opt out.
Fixed amount is $67,500, per partner, per year.
Automatic coverage may elect exclusion.
Maximum salary $ 135,200 per year. Minimum wage is $ 67,600 per year.
LLC'S SINGLE MEMBER
Treated for coverage, like an individual.
Treated for premium, like a Corporate Officer.
LLC'S MULTI MEMBER
Treated like an officer, automatic coverage, may elect exclusion.
GENERAL LIABILITY – IN EFFECT 01-01-19
Included at fixed amount of $10,400
Included at fixed amount of $10,400 per partner.
Included at actual wage subject to a maximum of $15,600 per year, Minimum of $5,200 per year.
Treated like Corporate Officers.
Treated like Partners.
WASHINGTON.C., December 22, 2018 — The Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (IIABA or the Big “I") today released the following statement from Charles Symington, Big “I" senior vice president of external, industry and government affairs on the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) extension through May 31, 2019.
“The Big 'I' thanks Congress for passing legislation to extend the NFIP into next year. And we thank the President for quickly signing the legislation to avoid a lapse. Since expiring in September 2017, the NFIP has unfortunately seen multiple stop-gap extensions as Congress debated program reforms. While the need to reform the NFIP is pressing, it is necessary to extend the program to provide stability to the millions of policyholders who rely on it, and to allow the 116th Congress time to build consensus on program reforms. The Big 'I' looks forward to continuing to work with Congress and the administration to support a long-term reauthorization of a modernized program that would increase take-up rates for flood insurance both in the NFIP and in the private market in 2019."
Founded in 1896, the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (IIABA or the Big “I") is the nation's oldest and largest national association of independent insurance agents and brokers, representing a network of approximately a quarter of a million agents, brokers and their employees nationally. Its members are businesses that offer customers a choice of policies from a variety of insurance companies. Independent agents and brokers offer all lines of insurance—property, casualty, life, health, employee benefit plans and retirement products.
It is crunch time for YOUR political action committee – InsurPac! With a newly divided Congress, a new Chairwoman of our primary committee for independent agents & brokers, dozens of new members of Congress that need education on independent agents, an important legislative agenda for independent agents, and more, it is imperative that every single Big I member contribute to your PAC.
Check out this new video on InsurPac. Please distribute it as you talk to your agency employees and colleagues about the need to support their PAC.
Online contributions can be made at www.insurpac.com/form or we can take checks payable to “InsurPac" – personal, LLC or partnership checks are accepted.
December 31 is the deadline for reporting purposes! We need a robust InsurPac to ensure YOUR voice is heard, and understood, on Capitol Hill!
We were so happy to meet the wish kid we sponsored through Make-A-Wish at the IIAC Mid-Year Convention! She traveled to a safari and was able to see animals in their natural habitats. We are proud to partner with Make-A-Wish to help make children's wishes come true!
If you have not yet registered for the new RLI portal please email email@example.com and request a re-generated invite. Once received an email will be sent from firstname.lastname@example.org. Please follow the instructions in this email. The invitation is time sensitive and will expire if not used within 30 days. Upon registering, you will be able to log in at https://myportal.rlicorp.com. Please replace any old bookmarks or favorites with the new portal.
All sub-agents will need a username and password for the RLI site to check policy status, quote and print any forms you may need. Quoting outside the RLI program is no longer possible. RLI has made many improvements to their program but being able to sign into the program is a must to take advantage of these improvements.
Please forward this post to anyone in your office who will need to quote RLI or who processes policies.
Please contact me directly if you run into any issues.
Rose Mullaly | CT RLI Program Manager
Phone: 860-563-6510 | Fax: 860-257-9981
Property & Casualty Pre-Licensing – Class Start Dates: January 8, 2019 – Wethersfield;
Instructor – Barbara Spear, CIC
This course is taught by a highly qualified and professional instructor. Program combines the FREEDOM OF HOMESTUDY with reinforcement of EIGHT DAYS of classroom instruction. Course will cover the following topics while preparing students for the state's examination: Basics (including insurance terms), Introduction to Property (Dwelling, Property Forms, Floaters, Homeowners), Automobile, Workers Compensation, Crime and Bonds, Commercial Insurance (Comprehensive General Liability, Commercial Property Policy, Business Auto, Garage Liability), Law and Ethics. Fee includes (provided all requirements are fulfilled): All study materials and quizzes, Certificate of completion required by the Connection Insurance Department and Pre-Registration for License Exam.
IIAC will allow students to retake pre-licensing courses free of charge for up to one-year from date of completion. If course manual changes during this time, student will be responsible for cost of an updated manual.
Class Fee: $600 Members / Associate Members $925 Non-Members
AAI 81-A – Principles of Insurance – January 24, 2019 - Wethersfield
Instructor – Barbara Spear, CIC
Course is one of nine segments required for the AAI designation. Program is recommended for all insurance production Personnel in any distribution system. It is particularly recommended for those individuals who deal directly with the insurance buying public. Program is designed to acquaint the producer, account executive or customer service representatives with the major coverage's, which generate 90% of most agency's premium volume. Recommended also for those who supervise producer or field representatives and for non-production employees who wish to begin careers in production or who have direct contact with clients. This program is for the advanced P&C individual and entails a commitment with substantial homework that will prepare the candidate for the National Exam. AAI 81-A Principles of Insurance will provide an overview of the insurance business including principles, nature and organization as well as legal issues, risk management and insurance sales and account development.
Class Fee: $175 Members / Associate Members $215 Non-Members
ACSR #1 – Homeowners Insurance – January 31, 2019 – Wethersfield
Instructor – Barbara Spear, CIC
Increase value to your agency with a strong understanding of the property and liability coverages that properly protect your customers.
Topics that will be covered are Homeowners Policy Components and Property Coverages; Additional Coverages, Perils, Exclusions, and Conditions; Liability Coverages and Conditions; and Endorsements. Course is one of five modules required to obtain the Personal Lines ACSR designation.
An exam will be administered at the end of the class to those students working toward their ACSR designation.
Class Fee: $85 Members / Associate Members $105 Non-Members
To sign up, please visit our education page.
HARTFORD, Conn., Dec. 6, 2018 – The Travelers Companies, Inc. (NYSE: TRV) today announced it has established the Travelers Benefit Program — a $5 million fund to assist customers in repairing homes with crumbling foundations in northeast Connecticut. The matter stems from concrete contaminated by the mineral pyrrhotite, which can cause foundations to deteriorate over time.
To help homeowners with the repair costs associated with pyrrhotite-related damage, the state recently created the Connecticut Foundations Solutions Indemnity Company (CFSIC). As some repairs may cost more than the CFSIC will cover, Travelers created the fund to provide additional financial support for its customers.
“Since this problem emerged, we have been committed to finding a solution that will assist our customers dealing with this unfortunate and complex issue," said Michael Klein, Executive Vice President and President of Personal Insurance at Travelers. “We appreciate the support from Governor Malloy and Attorney General Jepsen, and we collectively believe this fund will provide a significant measure of relief to affected homeowners."
Beginning Feb. 15, 2019, eligible Travelers customers whose repair costs exceed the benefit provided by the CFSIC will be able to enroll in the Travelers Benefit Program. The program will provide current customers up to $25,000 and former customers up to $10,000, subject to program terms.
“Travelers has taken the lead in helping its customers with the financial burden that comes with making the significant repairs associated with pyrrhotite-related damage," said Katharine Wade, Commissioner, Connecticut Department of Insurance. “We applaud Travelers for its efforts and appreciate the company's partnership in working to identify an outcome for Connecticut homeowners and developing a model for other insurance carriers to follow."
To learn more about the Travelers Benefit Program, its eligibility requirements and how to apply for assistance, please visit www.travelers.com/ctconcretefund or contact Travelers at 1.800.527.2416.
The Travelers Companies, Inc. (NYSE: TRV) is a leading provider of property casualty insurance for auto, home and business. A component of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, Travelers has approximately 30,000 employees and generated revenues of approximately $29 billion in 2017. For more information, visit www.travelers.com.
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