Louisiana Now Twelfth State to Amend Large Deductible Liquidation Act

On June 4 Louisiana adopted legislation to define how large deductible policies are handled in an insurance liquidation. The new law tracks closely to model language adopted by NCIGF and reflects the NCIGF position that deductible collections and other recoveries are to be remitted at 100% to the guaranty funds to the extent of their claim payments.

In the context of this legislation “large deductible” policies are:

  • Workers compensation policies in which the insurer agrees to pay the claims from dollar one.
  • However, through policy endorsement, the policyholder is obligated to reimburse the insurance company up to a certain specified amount – usually upwards of $100,000. (Sometimes through special arrangement with the insurance company the policyholder pays the deductible amount in the first instance – however the insurance company always has the ultimate responsibility to pay the claim.)
  • These mechanisms allow the policyholder to save on premium and at the same time protect the injured worker.
  • Any collection issues are addressed between the policyholder and the insurance company, but the worker gets needed benefits on a timely basis. Typically, the policyholder obligation to repay is secured by collateral furnished by that policyholder.

Confusion often ensues if the insurance company goes into liquidation and an insurance guaranty fund assumes the obligations of the insolvent insurer for workers compensation cases. Statutes such as the new Louisiana law settle various issues such as 1) who is responsible for collection of the large deductible recoveries, 2) how collateral put in place to secure these obligations should be administered post-liquidation, and 3) does the recovery become a general asset of the now insolvent estate or is it remitted to the guaranty fund paying the claim to the extent of that claim payment?

According to Roger Schmelzer, NCIGF President and CEO, “these issues are important to the guaranty funds for several reasons:  1)  Any confusion about the status of the various parties, such as the policyholder, the claimant, the receiver and the guaranty fund, can result in collection delays and litigation – both of which diminish available funds to reimburse the deductibles; 2) guaranty funds are a limited safety net – ultimately the cost of the guaranty fund payments is passed on to the public by various recoupment methods – having the structure in place to reimburse guaranty funds quickly on deductible payments reduces the cost to the public, and, importantly, bolsters the ability of the guaranty funds to provide seamless protection to injured workers.”

The new Louisiana law addresses all these issues and will do much to eliminate confusion and delay in future Louisiana insurance insolvencies. It’s essential elements are:

  • It calls for the receiver to assume collection efforts.
  • The receiver administers the collateral, draws down on the collateral should the policyholder fail to pay within a certain time frame, and eventually returns any excess collateral to the policyholder.
  • Guaranty funds receive reimbursement in full for their claim payments out of the deductible collections or collateral draw downs. (More information on this rather complex statutory scheme, and other similar laws, can be obtained by review of the new law available https://www.ncigf.org/industry/public-policy-and-legislation/.)

The other states that have adopted similar statutory changes are California, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Texas, New Jersey, Utah, Florida, Missouri, and West Virginia. Most follow some version of the template of the NCIGF model which has been revised over the years to reflect experience in dealing with these products in an insolvency context. The first state to enact the bill was Pennsylvania during the aftermath of the Reliance insolvency. Reliance was liquidated in 2001 and the legislation was added in 2004.

Special appreciation to John Wells, Executive Director of the Louisiana fund. John was instrumental in vetting this bill with state policymakers. 

NCIGF Leaders Address Global Resolution Experts in Taiwan

NCIGF Vice Chair Chad Anderson (WGFS) and NCIGF CEO Roger Schmelzer recently returned from the Asian International Forum of Insurance Guarantee Schemes (IFIGS) meeting held in Taipei, Taiwan. Both spoke to a roomful of 150 Public officials and academics from throughout Asia about the value of insurance guaranty funds.

Chad Anderson presents to the group.

Anderson delivered a robust briefing on how the U.S. property and casualty safety net works and the system’s place in state-based insurance regulation. It was an important presentation because most of the audience was not familiar with consumer protection for casualty products. Nearly all the topics addressed in the two-day meeting involved life mechanisms with an emphasis on avoiding failure altogether and efforts to assist regulators in achieving that end.

Delivering the keynote speech as chairman of IFIGS, Schmelzer outlined common objectives for all nations with policyholder protection laws; early involvement, prioritizing insurance customers and making sure regulators had a full and accurate understanding of how guaranty programs work, concluding by saying that meeting these elements will help to stabilize economies around the world.

Schmelzer pointed to deliberations anticipated later this year by international regulators (including representatives from the United States) on the ideal future state of guaranty systems worldwide. He cited these talks as a critical opportunity to help regulators generate a comprehensive body of knowledge and realistic expectations of insurance safety nets and their missions. Schmelzer also asserted that it was equally important to create an understanding that there is no single best way to protect consumers.

Roger Schmelzer gives his keynote address.

Kopp Named New Executive Director of Missouri Insurance Guaranty Associations

Update provided by the Missouri Insurance Guaranty Associations

Jefferson City, MO: Tamara W. Kopp has been named the new Executive Director of the Missouri Insurance Guaranty Associations by the Associations’ Executive Committee. Kopp takes the helm on October 1, 2019, when Chuck Renn retires after managing the Associations since 1992.

Kopp has spent her legal career with the Missouri Department of Insurance, most recently as receivership counsel representing the receiver for failed insurance companies. Kopp brings an understanding of government, insurance regulation, and company resolutions. She has served on the boards of directors for the International Association of Insurance Receivers (IAIR) and the Women Lawyers’ Association of Mid-Missouri (WLAMM). Kopp also represented the Missouri Department of Insurance on various National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) Committees, Task Forces, and Working Groups. As Executive Director, Kopp will continue her involvement with NAIC and IAIR while adding the National Conference of Insurance Guaranty Funds (NCIGF) and the National Organization of Life and Health Guaranty Associations (NOLHGA) to her schedule.

“On behalf of the Missouri Insurance Guaranty Associations, we want to thank Chuck for his 27 years of outstanding service to the guaranty associations and to Missouri consumers,” said Mike Voiles, Missouri Farm Bureau and Chair of the property and casualty guaranty association.

Tamara Kopp said, “Chuck has built a solid organization. I’m looking forward to continuing his level of excellent service for Missouri insureds to keep promises made.”

Kopp earned her law degree from the University of Missouri – Columbia and her bachelor’s degree from Northwest Missouri State University.

The Missouri Insurance Guaranty Associations provide protection within limits to insureds, beneficiaries, and claimants who are disadvantaged due to the insolvency of a member insurance company. Not all companies are member companies and not all types of insurance policies and coverage are subject to the protection provided by the Missouri Insurance Guaranty Associations. There are two insurance guaranty associations in Missouri that are jointly administered from one office. However, they have distinct responsibilities under their respective statutes. One association is responsible for insurance company insolvencies among the member life and health insurance companies, and the other association is responsible for insolvencies occurring among the member property and casualty insurance companies.

For more information, visit mo-iga.org