The Ohio Department of Insurance urges parents to assess insurance coverage before college starts

(Columbus, OH – Insurance News 360) – With students of all ages headed back to the classroom, parents of college students in particular have one more thing to do: Assess insurance policies to ensure that a college-age student has adequate coverage.

“It’s important for parents to talk with their insurance agent about options available for college-aged children,” said Lt. Governor Mary Taylor, also director of the Ohio Department of Insurance. “Parents should review their healthcare coverage, auto insurance and homeowners insurance policies to ensure adequate coverage is in place.”

Students are often required to have health insurance, through a private plan or a college-sponsored plan. It is important that parents understand the limitations of the student health insurance plan if their child is enrolling in a college-sponsored plan. Some have more limits and exclusions than one might expect.  It is important to ensure that students moving away from home have copies of insurance cards, and to know whether your student’s location is considered in network or out. This applies whether insurance is through a health maintenance organization or a preferred provider organization.

Renters Insurance

Whether a student lives in the dorms or off campus, it’s important to protect their personal belongings. For students under the age of 26 who live on campus, it may be easier to cover their items – they may be covered under their parents’ homeowners insurance. Off campus housing is a different story and parents’ insurance may not extend to a rental property. Then it’s time to look at a separate renters insurance policy.

Auto Insurance

Parents, check into auto insurance rates for a student’s city and state as you discuss whether  to keep a student’s car on the family policy. There may be discounts for those students who show academic progress.

Identity Theft

A student’s belongings and vehicle aren’t the only things that need protection. Have you thought about identity theft protection? College students are targets for these thieves because they are often busy and filling out dozens of documents with sensitive information.

There are a few things to know about ID theft insurance though:

This type of insurance does not prevent ID theft, but allows for coverage of the costs to undo the damage – attorney’s fees, costs of mailing documents, making copies and making phone calls.  Some homeowners insurance policies include identity theft protection. Ask if this extends to a student living away from home. Also, check into whether renters insurance covers ID theft or if it could be added on to the policy.

For more information about auto, home, life and health insurance options, as well as tips for choosing the coverage, that is right for you and your family, call the Ohio Department of Insurance consumer hotline at 1-800-686-1526. Insurance information is available at and you can follow the department on twitter @OHInsurance and at

Source: Ohio Insurance Department.

Legislators should fund driver’s education, says NC Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin

(Raleigh, NC – Insurance News 360) – As the North Carolina legislators negotiate a state budget, Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin is urging the Senate and House of Representatives to keep funding for driver education in the budget.

“North Carolina currently has some of the lowest car insurance costs in the country,” Goodwin said. “In addition to the public safety concerns that come with eliminating driver’s education programs, more untrained drivers on the road could ultimately lead to higher insurance rates for all drivers.”

For drivers, insurance rates are based on claims experience of the insurance companies. If companies pay more for claims over time, it is likely that rates would increase. As it is, teen drivers pay more for car insurance than those who have more experience, and they would see rate increases that are in line with the Safe Driver Incentive plan if theyare charged points for convictions are at-fault accidents.

“It is to everyone’s benefit to have skilled and safe drivers on the road,” said Goodwin.

Learn more about teens and car insurance at or by calling the North Carolina Department of Insurance at 855-408-1212.

Source: North Carolina Insurance Department.

Wisconsin reminds parents to assess insurance coverage with the start of school

(Madison, WI – Insurance News 360) – Wisconsin Insurance Commissioner Ted Nickel urges parents and students to assess their insurance needs as students hit the books this fall.

“Signing up for classes and buying your books is important,” said Nickel, “but so is making sure you’re adequately covered by insurance.” Nickel continues, “Students should keep in mind the importance of having the right type of auto, renter’s and health insurance before they need to access the coverage because of an unexpected event.”

Major life events are good times to examine insurance coverage. Students and parents should examine health insurance requirements to determine whether college students qualify for coverage under parents’ plans for health, auto and homeowner’s insurance or if they need to get their own policies.

Wisconsin drivers must have an auto insurance policy in place that includes liability insurance, whether they are involved in an accident or are pulled over for a traffic violation. Students who drive their parents’ cars may be covered under their parents’ policies, but if they purchase their own vehicle, they will need their own insurance.

Renters’ insurance will help to protect a young adult’s belongings in a variety of situations. Those living in the dorms may have coverage under mom and dad’s homeowner’s insurance, but living off campus can mean that a student needs their own renter’s insurance policy. These policies cover all belongings, whether they are stolen, burned or destroyed in a tornado or flood.

“I cannot stress enough the level of protection and peace of mind that renter’s insurance can give young adults,” said Nickel.

When it comes to health insurance, adult children through age 26 can stay on their parents’ health insurance if they are students.

Those who are not eligible for coverage as a dependent could potentially continue group coverage under the COBRA law, but colleges and universities often offer student insurance.

Source: Wisconsin’s Office of the Commissioner of Insurance (OCI)

Florida Office of Insurance Regulation approves removal of 184,000 policies from Citizens

(Tallahassee, FL – Insurance News 360) – The Citizens Property Insurance Corporation (Citizens) has been allowed to remove up to 184, 500 policies from  six companies. These policies include 181,909 personal residential insurance policies and 2,591 commercial residential/nonresidential policies.

The six companies allowed to remove policies include Anchor Property & Casualty Insurance Company, Heritage Property and Casualty Insurance Company, Safepoint Insurance Company, Southern Oak Insurnace Company, United Property and Casualty Insurnace Company and Weston Insurance Company.

Anchor has been allowed to  remove up to 20,000 personal residential policies; Heritage is allowed to remove up to 50,000 personal residential policies and up to 500 commercial residential policies; Safepoint is approved to remove up to 20,000 personal residential policies; Southern Oak Insurance Company can remove up to 15,000 personal residential policies; United Property and Casualty Insurance can remove up to 50,500 personal residential policies and up to 1,000 commercial residential policies. Weston Insurance Company is approved to remove up to 26,409 personal residential policies, 1,064 commercial nonresidential policies and 27 commercial residential policies.

The take-out periods are November 24, 2015 for personal residential impacting both the Personal Lines/Coastal Account policies and November 17, 2015 for commercial residential/non-residential impacting both the Commercial Lines/Coastal Account policies. This is part of the state’s ongoing depopulation effort to reduce the number of policies in the state-created Citizens and transfer them to the private insurance market.

Source: Florida Office of Insurance Regulation.

Ohio Budget bill includes new Health Insurance Options for Employers

(Columbus, OH – Insurance News 360) – The Ohio budget bill provides new employee health insurance options for business owners who seek employee insurance through Multiple Employer Welfare Arrangements (MEWAs). These arrangements allow different employers to join in purchasing health insurance. These arrangements are not new to the state of Ohio.

The newly approved state budget bill modernized statutes for MEWAs. Some of the changes include that these arrangements must have additional capital and surplus and an addition of disclosure requirements for employers. Legislators also approved consumer protection provisions, including who can sponsor a MEWA.

“We broadened the definition of who can sponsor a MEWA in order to give Ohio businesses more options,” said Lt. Governor Mary Taylor. “At the same time we have enhanced financial requirements for MEWAs to strengthen consumer protections to ensure common sense regulation.”

Taylor serves as Director of the Ohio Department of Insurance.

MEWA provisions in the budget bill include:

Expansion of types of entities allowed to sponsor MEWAs

Strengthened consumer safeguards require financial reserves for each MEWA. The minimum surplus is now $500,000. MEWAs must meet the same risk-based capital requirements as life and health insurers.

Requirement that annual certification of premium rates are filed with and approved by the Ohio Department of Insurance.

Representatives of eligible entities interested in forming a MEWA and business owners who want to learn more about MEWAs can call the Ohio Department of Insurance at 614-728-1074.

Source: Ohio Department of Insurance.

Indiana residents can get help to quit smoking

(Indianapolis, IN – Insurance News 360) – Tobacco users who are struggling to kick the habit may be able to get a bit of help from insurance companies, and the state is urging individuals to check with insurance companies and employers to learn about tobacco cessation options.

Since 2014, insurance policies in the state have been required to cover services and medications to assist tobacco users who want to quit.

All fully-insured plans issued after March 23, 2010 must cover screening and at least two quit attempts per year. These policies are available during open enrollment or during a special enrollment period with the assistance of an agent through the federal marketplace.

Each attempt to quit using tobacco offers four tobacco cessation counseling sessions (whether by telephone, in a group setting or individual counseling) and all FDA-approved medications aimed at tobacco cessation for a 90-day treatment when prescribed.

“Hoosiers seeking tobacco cessation services should check with their health insurance companies regarding coverage and the specific benefits included in their policies,” said Indiana Department of Insurance Commissioner Stephen W. Robertson.

The Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Commission has information on tobacco cessation programs around the state. Visit the state department of health’s website to learn more:

Source: Indiana Department of Insurance.

Insurance Commissioner takes control of Louisiana Health Cooperative

(Louisiana, LA – Insurance News 360) – On Sept. 1, Louisiana Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon took control of the Louisiana Health Cooperative (CO-OP), following the issuance of an Order of Rehabilitation and Injunctive Relief by the 19th Judicial District Court. The CO-OP is a health maintenance organization (HMO) that had announced it would wind not offer coverage in 2016.

“Our on-site review and analysis of the Louisiana Health Cooperative’s operations led us to the decision that placing it in Rehabilitation is in the best interests of its policyholders and providers, as well as taxpayers,” said Commissioner Donelon. “We are convinced that the CO-OP, with the support of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), will have the ability to pay claims owed to health care providers and I am confident that we can more efficiently and successfully wind down affairs in a timely and equitable fashion.”

The CO-OP was placed into rehabilitation when the Louisiana Department of Insurance determined it would be best for policyholders, doctors and taxpayers for the CO-OP to wind down. CO-OP policies are effective through the end of the year and the order of rehabilitation will allow uninterrupted healthcare for policyholders and payments to providers. Policyholders will need to enroll in new coverage for January 2016 during the open enrollment period (Nov. 1 2015 to January 31, 2016). For a policy to take effect Jan. 1, policyholders must be enrolled by Dec. 15, 2015.

The Louisiana Department of Insurance will work with healthcare providers to ensure that payment is issued in a timely manner.

Additional information can be found on the LDI website at Inquiries may be directed to or to the Louisiana Department of Insurance Office of Consumer Services at 1-800-259-5300 or 225-342-5900.

Source: Louisiana Department of Insurance.

Maryland Insurance Administration approves 2016 rates

(Baltimore, MD – Insurance News 360) – Maryland approves insurance rates for 2016 small group and individual markets

The Maryland Insurance Administration (MIA) has approved premium rates for small group and individual health plans offered statewide starting Jan. 1, 2016. The review process resulted in reductions to rate increases for insurers in the state, saving consumers approximately $66.4 million compared to the proposed rates for 2016.

Small group insurance rates will see a decline of 1.8 percent, which is attributed to increased competition and 20 years of reforms. Eleven companies will sell in the small group market in 2016.

New rates for the individual market affect just 3.2 percent of Maryland residents and 4.2 percent are in the small group market. Most residents are covered by health insurance plans through large employers or those who self-insure, plans purchased before March 2010 or federal plans.

“The new rates approved by the Maryland Insurance Administration reflect the trends we’ve seen in the health insurance market over the last two years,” said Maryland Insurance Commissioner Al Redmer, Jr. “MIA’s adjustments to the requests from insurers will support our primary goal – ensuring that Marylanders benefit from a competitive and effective health insurance marketplace.”

For more information, visit

Source: Maryland Insurance Administration.

Louisiana Insurance Commisisoner Jim Donelon addresses payment of healthcare providers

(Louisiana, LA – Insurance News 360) – After taking control of the Louisiana Health Cooperative (LAHC or the CO-OP) on Sept. 1, Donelon is taking steps to assure healthcare providers that they will be paid for CO-OP services and to discuss the continued treatment of policyholders.

“The new management of the CO-OP will work tirelessly to ensure that the processing and payment of claims will speed up dramatically. All healthcare providers of the CO-OP need to know that their claims will be paid so that they will be comfortable in continuing to provide treatment to policyholders,” said Commissioner Donelon. “As the regulator of the insurance industry, I have authority to enforce contracts with outside vendors of defunct insurers, including vendors that process claims, and will do everything within my power to make sure that policyholders are served and providers are paid and paid faster, and that taxpayers can recover as much money as possible through judicious management of the CO-OP,” Commissioner Donelon said.

There are tens of thousands of in-network providers of the CO-OP and Donelon and court-appointed receiver Billy Bostick want those providers to know that efficiencies in administration and the CO-OP’s ability to pay claims will be satisfied. There will be a series of meetings for providers to get information about this situation.

Additional information can be found on the LDI website at Inquiries from providers, as well as policyholders, may be directed to or by phone 504-383-7456.

Source: Louisiana Department of Insurance.

Safe Auto fined in Missouri for failure to provide anti-theft discounts

(Jefferson City, MO – Insurance News 360) – Missouri drivers who have coverage from Safe Auto could receive a refund or credit after a market conduct examination led to the discovery that the auto insurer did not provide anti-theft discounts on qualifying vehicles between 2008 and 2015. The insurer is required to pay refunds to customers and pay an $80,000 fine.

“When Missourians purchase insurance coverage, insurers must honor the complete terms of the policies, including providing discounts as promised in the insurance policies,” said Department Director John M. Huff. “Our market conduct team will continue to hold insurance companies responsible for keeping their business practices compliant with the terms of the insurance policies and Missouri law.”

The department’s investigation showed that Safe Auto provided the discount to policyholders who indicated that the vehicle contained anti-theft equipment, instead of giving it to all policyholders whose vehicles had the equipment.

The company also allegedly failed to provide discounts for airbags, anti-lock brakes, daytime running lights and passive restraints on certain vehicles in which insurance quotes were issued via the insurer’s website.

Customers with questions should call 844-248-7021 or talk to their agents.

Source: Missouri Department of Insurance.