Court Sides with Consumers

It looks like the scales of justice have tipped toward the insurance consumer. A unanimous California Supreme Court decision has reaffirmed Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara’s view that consumers have a right to dispute insurance rates that haven’t been properly filed and approved.  The court’s decision involved title insurance, but Lara’s office says it has implications for consumer protection in other lines. From the Department of Insurance:
Commissioner Lara filed an amicus brief in Villanueva v. Fidelity National Title Company (#S252035), and the Court’s 7-0 decision, issued on March 18, noted that his view is consistent and long-standing, having been maintained by five different Insurance Commissioners across a period stretching back nearly 30 years. The Court’s decision found Commissioner Lara’s position well-reasoned, supported by “institutional expertise,” and worthy of “considerable respect.”
According to Lara, the Supreme Court’s decision removes any ambiguity that insurance companies are not immune from consumer action under California law meant to protect them from unfair competition and other harmful practices.
The Court agreed with Commissioner Lara’s position that several immunity statutes in the California Insurance Code do not give insurance companies blanket immunity from civil suits for all ratemaking activity. The Court found that the statutory immunity for “act[s] done . . . pursuant to the authority conferred” (Cal. Ins. Code, § 12414.26) by the rate-filing statutes does not shield title insurers from suit for charging unauthorized rates, and the Insurance Commissioner does not have exclusive jurisdiction over such claims.
More info at CDI’s website.

GIVE

Step Up for IICF COVID Relief March 29

Ready to step up? C’mon we know some of you do the Culver City/Baldwin Hills stairs, the Santa Monica stairs etc. Might as well sign up for the Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation’s Step Up Challenge on March 29. This is an international exercise challenge to raise funds for children and communities at risk. Funds raised benefit 2021 IICF COVID-19 Relief Funds in the US and UK. Moreover, all funds raised in a region will remain local. U.S. participants register here. Click here to learn more about the 2021 IICF International Step Up Challenge.

HEALTH

Welcome Secretary Becerra

California’s  was confirmed as the secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services last week. Insurer and hospital groups came out in favor of Becerra’s confirmation, citing his past support for the Affordable Care Act, his stance to lower drug prices and his work on health equity.

 and Covered Cal Extend SigHealthCare.govn Ups

HealthCare.gov announced it will extend the current COVID-19 emergency special enrollment period, set to expire May 15, to August 15.  The extension aims to give consumers more time to understand and use the new health insurance premium subsidies provided for by the American Rescue Plan Act. Consumers can use the enrollment period to apply for new coverage or to apply the new subsidy increases to coverage that’s already in force. Of course, California has its own exchange. Covered California announced it will go one better by extending sign ups to December 31, 2021.

EXPO

San Diego Gearing up for 33rd Annual Sales Expo

The San Diego Association of Health Underwriters will hold it’s 33rd annual sales expo on May 6. Props go out to whoever titled the expo “There Is Light at the End of the Tunnel”.  Yep, we’re all looking for that light! SDAHU’s expo will be virtual this year and take place from 10am-2pm. Very important: there are still sponsorship opportunities! Access info about sponsorship here. More info about the expo here.

Spring Clean

5 Tips for Business Spring Cleaning

Angela Civitella, business leadership coach and the founder of Intinde, sent us these great tips for spring cleaning your business:

  • Review your clients: Springtime is a great time to touch base with your clients, past, present and potential ones. Check in with your current clients and make sure all is well. Reach out to previous clients and see if they need your services. Make a list of potential clients and try to secure some new business. You don’t need a specific reason to reach out to people, and even a “check-in” to see how they are doing during these times can work really well.
  • Set some goals: Springtime is about getting rid of the old, but it’s also a great time to think about what’s yet to come. Set some new goals for your business. Where do you want to be next year at this time? What kind of projects do you want to take on? Are there any industry awards you want to go after?
  • Clean out the clutter: It wouldn’t be spring cleaning without getting rid of the clutter. Most businesses unnecessarily hold on to old files for years. See if you can get rid of them. Not only is this good business practice, but it’s a secret motivation tool that helps free up room for new accounts and projects.
  • Clean up your expenses: Most businessowners spend money on unnecessary software, programs, services and other items that they rarely or never use. Go through your bank statements and credit card bills and see what you are being charged for each month. If there are items you no longer need, cancel them and put the extra money back into your business.
  • Cutdown on office space:  With more and more employees working remotely, do you need to spend all that money on rent for such a large space?

CAL Broker

Take Our Survey & You Might Win $

We super appreciate all those who have answered our reader survey. If you haven’t had a chance to do it yet, there’s still time! And if you take the 2021 California Broker reader survey you could be entered to win $500. Take the super quick survey here.

EVENTS

  • NAHU Power Hour, 4th Wednesday of the month from 4-5p.m. Pacific. Members and nonmembers welcome. Register here.
  • LAAHU DEI Book Club, discussing Miles McPherson’s book, The Third Option, runs through Sept, Register here.
  • CAHU Women’s Leadership Summit, POSTPONED Email questions to info@cahu.org.
  • National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) Spring National Meeting, Virtual, April 7-9 and April 12-14. Register here.
  • Insurance Advertising Compliance Association conference, Virtual, April 22-23, Register here.
  • San Diego Association of Health Underwriters Sales Expo, Virtual, May 6, info here.
  • IICF International Inclusion in Insurance Forum, June 15-17
    The Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation is convening insurance professionals, C-Suite executives, D&I leaders and other innovators from around the globe for the IICF International Inclusion in Insurance Forum, an action-oriented program with a unique focus on an inclusive future for the industry. Register here.
  • BenefitsPro Broker Expo, in person in San Diego, August 16-18, agenda here, register here.
  • American Association for Medicare Supplement Insurance, National Medicare Supplement Insurance Industry Summit, Sept 8-10, Schaumburg Convention Center, Chicago area, info here.