Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Surplus Lines Law Group Sets Spring & Fall Meetings Dates

The Surplus Lines Law Group has announced the dates of their 2010 Spring and Fall meetings. The Spring meeting will take place April 15-16 in San Francisco and the fall meeting will take place September 30 & October 1 in New York City.

The surplus lines law group is an informal group of attorneys, compliance professionals, and trade associations that meet to discuss legal issues impacting surplus lines insurance.

The Surplus Line Association of California will host the Spring meeting and the Excess Line Association of New York is hosting the fall event. Meetings start with a welcome reception and dinner on Thursday evening and the meeting begins on Friday morning and concludes after lunch.

Information regarding registration for the meetings and also hotel reservations will be available soon.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Stamping Offices Report Surplus Lines Premiums Declined by 7.9 percent in 2009

The amount of premiums collected by surplus lines stamping offices continued to decline in 2009 according to a report by the Surplus Lines Stamping Office of Texas, with approximately $19.5 billion collected, compared to $21.2 billion in 2008. By comparison, in 2007 stamping offices reported processing $23 billion in premiums.

The 7.9% percent decline from 2008 to 2009 was slightly less than the 8.2% decline from 2007 to 2008. While there was a large decline in premiums written, the number of policies declined only by 1.9%, to 3.25 million items processed.

Of the 15 stamping offices in operation at the start of 2009, 13 reported declines in premiums, with only Texas and Mississippi reporting increases, 4.2% and 5.7% respectively. States reporting small decreases in premiums were Washington (-1.4%), Florida (-5.5%), Illinois (-7.0%), and New York (-9.5%).

Montana reported the largest percentage decline in premiums but their stamping office ceased operation as of July 1 as the state took over collection of premium taxes. All other state stamping offices reported double digit declines in premiums, including: Nevada (-20.9%), California (-19.0%), Oregon (-18.6%), Idaho (-15.2%), Pennsylvania (-12.5%), Utah (-12.0%), and Arizona (-11.9%).

Minnesota’s stamping office began operations in 2009 and reported $247 million in premiums. California reported the most premium in 2009 at $4.6 billion, followed by Florida at $4.15 billion, Texas at $3.4 billion and New York at $3 billion.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

In Memoriam: Early NAPSLO Director

Insurance industry veteran and one of the founders of NAPSLO, A. Mason Blodgett, died peacefully on Jan. 14, 2010, at age 94.

Mr. Blodgett was amongst those who helped found NAPSLO and served on the Board of Directors from 1975-79.

Blodgett's insurance career spanned more than seven decades. It began in Boston in 1932 with "little Aetna" and then, in the late 1930s, moved to Automobile Mutual. During WWII, he served as an officer in the Army Air Corps. After the war, Blodgett was transferred to San Francisco where he opened the western region for Automobile Mutual.

In 1956, he formed A Mason Blodgett & Associates which, for many years, was a leading retail agency in San Francisco.

In 1966, Blodgett opened Cambridge General Agency, a managing general agent and surplus lines broker. Cambridge was Scottsdale Insurance Co.'s first agent in California and pioneered a number of programs with the London market. He retired in 2007.
Blodgett is survived by his wife Sandi, sons James and William, and daughters Judy, Katie and Sarah. Remembrances may be sent to the American Association of Managing General Agents (AAMGA) Foundation.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

ELANY Urges Brokers to Utilize Expanded Export List

The Excess Lines Association of New York (ELANY) recently issued a news release urging brokers to take advantage of the substantial expansion of the export list which took place last fall.

Coverages included on the “export list” were substantially expanded effective as of September 2, 2009. If brokers specialize in one or more of these newly included coverages they are permitted to bypass the diligent search requirements regarding declining licensed insurers. Twenty-one separate pieces of information must be set forth to establish three declinations except for coverages on the “export list”.

ELANY said the streamlining of the affidavit compliance process requirement makes it easier to file excess line affidavits, creating efficiencies and lowering broker processing costs. ELANY is urging brokers to inform their staff and retail producers to take advantage of these benefits.

Additional details on the expanded export list are available by downloading the news release from ELANY.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Kentucky to Increase Premium Tax in April

The Kentucky Department of Insurance has issued a bulletin announcing that the monthly premium surcharge tax is increasing from 1.5% to 1.8% effective April 1, 2010.

The monthly premium surcharge tax is required to be paid by all domestic, foreign, or alien insurers, other than life and health insurers, and it will increase from $1.50 to $1.80 per $100 of premiums, assessments, or other charges for insurance coverage provided to policyholders on risks located in Kentucky. The adjustment to the premium surcharge rate will be effective and applied to policies issued or renewed on or after April 1, 2010.

The exceptions listed in KRS 136.392(5) remain effect. In addition:
• Municipal premium taxes imposed pursuant to KRS 91A are not to be included in calculation of the premium surcharge;
• Life and health insurers are not subject to the premium surcharge imposed by KRS 136.392; and
• Pursuant to KRS 342.122(1)(e), the premium surcharge shall not be imposed on Workers’ Compensation premium.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Texas SLOT to Help with Data Call

The Surplus Lines Stamping Office of Texas announced it can respond on behalf of surplus lines insurers writing policies in the state regarding the Texas Department of Insurance data call on the number of policies in force as of the end of 2009.

The Department is required to provide consumers with complaint ratios and in order to satisfy this requirement the department requires companies to report the number of policies in force.

The Stamping Office will respond to the data call on behalf of any insurers not wishing to directly respond and historically, approximately one third of surplus lines insurers provide their own data directly.

Next week the Stamping Office will send out a report to each insurer indicating the number of Texas policies recorded in force as of Dec. 31, 2009. This will give insurers time to review the data and contact the Stamping Office if there are issues or questions.

The Stamping Office will also send out another run of that report to insurers in March, to account for filings by agents in January and February for 2009 policies. Finally, the Stamping Office will enter the policy information for each insurer into the Texas Department of Insurance’s web portal designed for that purpose. The Stamping Office will not be able to access the portal for any insurer that has decided to report its own data directly.

Questions should be directed to the Stamping Office at (800) 449-6394.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Weather Closes NAPSLO Office

The NAPSLO Office was closed on Thursday, January 7, 2010 because of the heavy snowfall in the Midwest. The office is expected to reopen on Friday.

Monday, January 04, 2010

California Stamping Fee to Increase Feb. 1

The Surplus Lines Association of California Executive Committee and the Stamping Committee approved an increase in the stamping fee from .225% to .250% effective February 1, 2010.

All new policies, renewal policies, and extension endorsements with an effective date on or after February 1, 2010 will incur a stamping fee of .250%.

The stamping fee for endorsements, audits, installments or cancellations (excluding extension endorsements) will be the same percentage as the inception date of the policy/certificate being endorsed.