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The Senate Insurance Committee met this past Wednesday to hear the following bills.
AB 999 (Yamada): This bill would revise long-term care insurance oversight to enhance consumer information and revise rate calculation requirements.
Recent author's amendments, adopted on June 7, 2012, struck the most controversial feature in this bill relating to time limits when an insurer could receive a rate change. Based on the new version of the bill, the Committee has received notice that the Association of California Life and Health Insurance Companies (ACLHIC), American Council of Life Insurers (ACLI), America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), California Association of Health Underwriters (CAHU), and the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors (NAIFA- CA) have removed their opposition from the bill and now have a neutral or no position.
AB 999 passed the committee with a vote of 5-3.
AB 1747 (Feuer): This bill would establish a statutory minimum 60 day grace period for nonpayment of premium on life insurance policies. The bill also would require that life insurers permit policy owners to designate at least one other person to receive notice of a missed payment and prohibits termination until that notice has been mailed 30 days prior to the effective date of termination for nonpayment of premium.
AB 1747 passed the committee with a vote of 9-0.
AB 1846 (Gordon): This bill, sponsored by the Department of Insurance, would create a licensing framework for consumer operated and oriented health plans that can offer health coverage through the new California Health Benefit Exchange.
AB 1846 passed the committee with a vote of 5-3.
AB 2301 (Committee on Insurance): This is a technical clean-up bill that would conform California statutes governing insolvent insurers to existing practices in cases involving multi-state insurer insolvencies.
AB 2301 passed the committee with a vote of 8-0.
AB 2303 (Committee on Insurance): This bill is the annual Assembly Committee on Insurance omnibus bill conforming state law to federal insurance law, makes technical changes to the state insurance code, and makes specified licensing changes.
AB 2303 passed the committee with a vote of 8-0.
AB 2354 (Solorio): This bill would update the definition of travel insurance and shift the licensing and regulatory compliance responsibilities from travel retailers to limited lines travel insurance agents.
AB 2354 passed the committee with a vote of 8-0.
AB 2406 (Buchanan): This bill, sponsored by the Personal Insurance Federation of California, would require the Department of Insurance to post on its Internet Web site, during the period of eligibility, all requests for a finding of eligibility to seek compensation and all findings of eligibility.
By way of background, Proposition 103 (1988) established a process to allow for public participation in the rate setting process for casualty and car insurance rates. This process allows third parties to intervene before the Insurance Commissioner in representation of consumers to assist the Commissioner in making rate-setting decisions. An intervenor is eligible to receive advocacy and witness fees and expenses if it is able to establish for the Commissioner that it represents the interests of consumers and made a substantial contribution to the proceedings. These fees and expenses are paid by the insurance companies. The purpose of this bill is to increase transparency in the insurance rate-setting process by requiring CDI to publish information regarding intervenor eligibility on its website.
AB 2406 passed the committee with a vote of 8-0.
Senate Labor and Industrial Relations Committee
The Senate Labor and Industrial Relations Committee met this past Wednesday and heard the following bills:
AB 1145 (Cedillo): This bill would, starting January 1, 2013, create a new process for the Supplemental Job Displacement Benefit. Specifically, this bill would require vouchers for supplemental job displacement benefits under the workers' compensation system to be provided to injured workers no later than 80 days after the first medical report indicates that: 1) there will be some degree of permanent partial disability; and, 2) the injured worker is permanent and stationary.
AB 1145 passed the committee with a vote of 5-1.
AB 1687 (Fong): This would provide that if an award made by the Workers' Compensation Appeals Board specifies the provision of future medical treatment and a dispute arises in the course of a utilization review with the enforcement of this award, and the applicant employs an attorney for purposes of enforcing the award and prevails, the appeals board may award attorney's fees reasonably incurred by the applicant in connection with enforcement of the award.
AB 1687 passed the committee with a vote of 6-0.
AB 2099 (Cedillo): This bill would increase the fine for specified wage and hour violations from not less than $100, to not less than $250 and make a non substantive technical change.
AB 2099 passed the committee with a vote of 5-1.
AB 2103 (Ammiano): This bill would provide further clarity as to what hours and rate of pay a salaried employee is being compensated for when receiving his or her payment. Specifically, this bill would provide that payment of a fixed salary to a nonexempt employee shall be deemed to provide compensation only for the employee's regular, non-overtime hours, notwithstanding any private agreement to the contrary.
AB 2103 passed the committee with a vote of 5-1.
AB 2674 (Swanson): This bill would revise requirements of existing law regarding an employee's right to inspect his or her personnel records. Specifically, this bill would allow an employee to both inspect and receive a copy of their personnel records, and establishes a 30 calendar day period for employer compliance with an employee request. This timeframe may be extended to up to 35 calendar days by mutual agreement.
AB 2674 passed the committee with a vote of 5-1.