Florida Insurance Commissioner to Push Back on “One Size Fits All” Group Supervision

(Tallahassee, FL – SafePro Insurance Services) – At the International Insurance Forum in mid-May, Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty will moderate a panel discussion on “Enhanced Group Supervision.”

McCarty will raise the issue that supervisors need to take care so that their regulatory requirements do not distract from understanding the economic realities that insurance groups face. He will share that this is a necessary push-back from a ‘one size fits all’ regulatory system.

The panel discussion is expected to explore topics like what is the purpose of enhanced group supervision? Is the intent to create a zero failure system and is that feasible?

Group supervision has been one of the most widely discussed topics in all financial regulation, including insurance since the 2008 financial crisis.

Other panel members will include Nobuyasu Sugimoto, Financial Sector Expert at the International Monetary Fund; Michael F. Consedine, Commissioner of the Pennsylvania Insurance Department; and Jacob Rosengarten, Chief Risk Officer at XL.

Source: Florida Office of Insurance Regulation.

USAA Policyholders save $38 Million in Sacramento County Thanks to Rate Reductions

(Sacramento, CA – SafePro Insurance Services) – When combining a 5% discount for Firewise communities and overall rate reductions, USAA has helped their customers in Sacramento County to save $38 million so far this year. The reduction will be an average annual savings of $167 per family. The rate reduction is effective for policies renewing as of Oct. 1, 2014.

Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones applauded the insurer’s approach.

“I am encouraged by USAA’s enterprising decision to offer both a rate reduction and discount for Firewise communities, which demonstrates their commitment to California consumers,” said Insurance Commissioner Jones. “In the current drought environment, with the increasing risk of a devastating wildfire season, I am hopeful that the decision of USAA will spur other insurers to consider similar discounts for wildfire mitigation.”

California policyholders in California saw a rate reduction in 2011, when their rates were slashed 13.9%. USAA is the seventh largest homeonwers insurer and the 8th largest auto insurer in California, with approximately 260,000 homeowners getting their insurance through USAA.

“This rate decrease is made possible in part by our industry-low expense ratio, and our members’ efforts to maintain their homes and prevent losses,” said Jeff Dixon, vice president of P&C insurance property product management at USAA. “USAA is committed to partnering with our members to prevent losses, which is why we’re also introducing a new insurance discount for members in communities that are working together to reduce wildfire risks by forming a Firewise community.”

The Firewise designation is a program sponsored by the National Fire Protection Association that recognizes neighborhoods where homeowners work together to prepare their homes to resist wildfire damage.

San Francisco will see a 14.2% annual rate reduction for a savings of $210; Los Angeles will also see an annual rate reduction of 12.2%, for an average annual savings of $138.

Source: California Department of Insurance.

Insurance Agency M&A Update

(Chicago, IL – SafePro Insurance Services) – In the first four months of 2014, there were more than 100 announcements of mergers and acquisitions between insurance companies, according to a mergers and acquisitions update produced by OPTIS Partners LLC.

The report notes that 57 buyers this year which is consistent with the pattern of the past three years.  Of the top 20 firms, Digital Insurance was the only company to have fewer transactions than in the first four months of 2013. Seventeen of the agencies topped their transactions from the same period in 2013.

Personnel at OPTIS LLC note that 2014 could equal 2012 – a record-setting year, if the marketplace continues in this same manner.

Source: OPTIS Partners, LLC

U.S. and EU Insurance Regulators Advance Regulatory Coordination

(Washington, D.C. – SafePro Insurance Services) – Late last month, representatives of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA) and the European Commission met to come to a mutual regulatory understanding of insurance in the U.S. and EU, as part of the EU-U.S. Dialogue Project.

The project steering committee met as well to determine how to go about fleshing out the five year plan. The Project builds on the established U.S.-EU bilateral dialogue and includes representatives from the NAIC, the European Commission and EIOPA and the Federal Insurance Office (FIO).

Industry representatives joined regulators and FIO as part of the Fifth Annual U.S.-EU Insurance Symposium hosted by the Chamber of Commerce. The symposium was an opportunity to engage with stakeholders on a variety of regulatory areas that impact insurance consumers and companies in both jurisdictions

“Our primary objective going forward is to continue the positive momentum generated by the important work completed in 2013, namely in the areas of professional secrecy, reinsurance collateral and group supervision,” said Michael F. Consedine, NAIC Vice President and Pennsylvania Insurance Commissioner. “Our progress in these areas is an indication that we are on the right path to increase efficiencies and support systemic resilience of the global financial system.”

Source: National Association of Insurance Commissioners.

Insurance Commissioner McCarty’s Statement on SB 542

(Tallahassee, FL – SafePro Insurance Services) – Florida Insurance Commissioners Kevin McCarty issued a statement on May 1 regarding the Florida Legislature’s passage of the Senate Bill 542 to allow citizens to have a choice of insurers when it comes to the flood insurance that can be so important in the region.

“The Florida Legislature’s action today in passing SB 542 promoting choice in the flood insurance market will be good for Florida consumers. We thank the Legislature and Senator Brandes and Representative Hooper for sponsoring this measure,” McCarty said in his statement.

Hurricane season officially begins June 1, and McCarty reminds property owners to consider their flood risk and review their flood insurance coverage needs with their insurance agent. McCarty went on to say that the Office of Insurance Regulation is looking forward to working with Florida insurers and well-capitalized reinsurers who are interested in providing a private sector alternative to the National Flood Insurance Program.

Source: Florida Office of Insurance Regulation.