Thursday, August 13, 2009


Florida Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty announced the Office of Insurance Regulation (Office) and the Hartford Financial Services Group (Hartford) have entered into a consent agreement whereby Hartford will issue refunds or credits totaling $48.2 million to Florida businesses for excess profits it earned on its workers’ compensation policies for accident years 2004, 2005 and 2006.

Hartford’s refund will bring the total amount of refunded excess workers’ comp profits for all companies workers’ comp writers in Florida to more than $98.8 million so far this year. Over $29.7 million in excess workers’ comp profits were refunded to Florida businesses in 2008.

Hartford must provide refunds or renewal credits within 60 days from the date of this order and provide documentation of its compliance to the Office.

In addition, Hartford must certify that it has attempted to locate all policyholders whose refund checks are returned; and if unable to locate those policyholders, the funds must be processed as unclaimed or abandoned property pursuant to Chapter 717, Florida Statutes. Hartford also must pay the Office $5,000 in administrative costs.

  • The North Carolina General Assembly has formally ended the first year of a two-year session. Legislators adjourned after significant activity on a number of insurance issues, according to the American Insurance Association (AIA).

  • “This was a very active session for insurers, by North Carolina standards,” said Raymond Farmer, AIA assistant vice president, Southeast Region, “and we can expect a similar level of activity in next year’s session. We are pleased overall with the session’s achievements, led by passage of HB 1305, which reforms the state Beach Plan both operationally and financially, and begins the process of returning it to a market of last resort.”

  • Other significant legislative activity included passage of two auto bills: SB 749, which clarifies an insured’s coverage options under the state’s UM/UIM law, and also exempts certain commercial vehicles from the law’s requirements for UM/UIM coverage; and a bill opposed by AIA, SB 660, which provides consumers with a method for claiming diminution of value in auto property damage claims.

  • On the driver safety front, legislators passed and the governor has signed HB 9, which bans drivers from sending text messages or e-mails while driving. Insurers also were able to defeat a number of potentially costly new tax proposals, as North Carolina legislators sought new revenues to address a budget deficit.

  • Proposals that would have adversely impacted insurers, including an increase in the gross premium tax to 2.25 percent, an increase in the regulatory fee from 5.5 to 6 percent, and imposing a sales tax on auto repairs, were removed from this year’s final finance and budget package.

  • Finally, on the litigation front, AIA was part of negotiations with the trial bar who sought to change the state’s current six-year statute of repose in product liability actions. The compromise language of SB 882, which passed, extends the statute of repose to 12 years.

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