California Insurance Agents face changes in the New Year
In this New Year we hope to highlight for you, some trends in sales, changes at the Department of Insurance, (DOI), updates to the DOI and offer quick chats on topics that you have asked us to discuss.
Let’s guide you through a few changes for 2020:
Many of you have not been on our site since your last renewal. Click to Affordable Educators and you will find we have a new home page. We hope you find it easier to reach the products that you would like to purchase. We continue to offer Continuing Education, (CE), Pre-licensing and Adjuster CE and CEQ.
Updates on our CE side include an Exam link that highlights both the exam and the book. No more printing out exams. You can come and go as you have time and your answers are saved until graded. Yes, we still offer you a full history of certs and receipts. No need for you to keep track of them, we do it for you.
We offer the required Sexual Harassment training. California has mandated sexual harassment training for all businesses with five or more employees and/or managers. SB 1343, requires all training must be done by January 1, 2021. Our online system offers an easy to follow video format with the required quizzes and certification. As with our pre-licensing, we offer a manager’s page, so you may follow the progress of your staff and make sure that they are compliant.
Too busy to call ? You can easily chat with us online Monday through Friday. Try it today. You can click through from Affordable Educators and start your chat. We would love to hear from you!
Changes at the California Department of Insurance and Sircon
In the fall of 2019, the DOI forged a relationship with Sircon. Sircon will now post your CE credits to their site and then send it to the DOI. You may access your CE credits and needs at both the DOI and Sircon. Sircon will give you a broader history of your past CE credits. You may find it handy if you sell Annuities and LTC.
Of course, Sircon charges a surcharge for their work and that is now passed on to you by all CE providers. You will also pay a fee to them when you renew your license online.
The Department of Insurance will let you print your license from their site with no extra fee.
Changes to your name?
There are lots of reasons that you may use different names on your CE and your license. Marriage? Name change. A divorce? Name change. To make sure that your hours are posted quickly to the DOI and your license renews on time, use the same name and spelling as you did when you applied for your license.
Any changes can be made using this form.
New DOI Regulations
With the start of the New Year the has the Department of Insurance’s Commissioner Ricardo Laro has issued a few updates.
Beginning January 1, consumers now have the right to choose a cash payment in lieu of repairing a damaged vehicle under an automobile insurance policy thanks to Assembly Bill 1538 authored by Assembly Member Shirley Weber. This new law helps protect low income drivers, allowing policyholders to collect an insurance claim even if they choose not to repair the vehicle.
The California Low Cost Automobile Insurance Program, which helps provide auto liability insurance to new drivers in underserved consumers, has been extended to January 1, 2025 as a result of Senate Bill 570 authored by Senator Susan Rubio. Among other things, this new law also extended eligibility to students if they reside at the same address where they are claimed as a dependent.
Economic empowerment of diverse small businesses
Senate Bill 534 authored by Senator Steven Bradford encourages the $310 billion insurance industry to use its buying power to benefit diverse small businesses. SB 534 extends innovative programs that bring increased transparency and opportunities for partnership between the nation’s largest insurance market and woman-, minority-, LGBT- and veteran-owned businesses.
Investment in underserved communities
This year, the California Organized Investment Network (COIN) will continue thanks to Assembly Bill 1099 authored by Assembly Member Ian Calderon. The new law will allow this important program at the Department to continue its mission in investing into California’s underserved communities and helping the economic development of the state. The COIN program encourages insurers to be supportive of investments that promote social, economic, and environmental benefits.
Pet owners will also see greater protections with their pet insurance policies as Assembly Bill 1535 authored by Assembly Member Wendy Carrillo takes effect. This new law requires pet insurers to disclose the contact information for the underwriting insurer, the agent or broker, and the Department of Insurance to consumers that hold pet insurance policies. This new law will provide consumers with greater transparency and help streamline the line of communication between pet owners and their pet insurance carriers so that insurers cannot hide behind confusing brand names to avoid claims or complaints.
Health and long-term care
Senate Bill 784 authored by the Senate Committee on Health conforms state law to both recent federal statutory changes and adopted National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) Model Regulations made to the Medicare program and, specifically, Medicare Supplement policies issued on or after January 1, 2020 in order to ensure compliance with the federal Medicare Access and Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act.
Two additional Commissioner-sponsored consumer protection laws are set to take effect beginning July 1, 2020 including:
Senate Bill 740, authored by Senator Holly Mitchell, will require insurers to identify deceased individuals whose deaths may require insurers to pay benefits or proceeds to beneficiaries in accordance with the terms of life insurance policies, annuity contracts, or retained asset accounts. Under this new landmark law, insurers are now required to attempt to locate beneficiaries of the deceased individuals and provide appropriate claims forms or instructions to the beneficiaries to make a claim. This new law follows up on nearly a decade of market conduct exams and enforcement actions conducted by the Department against life insurers as part of a nationwide effort.
Senate Bill 508, authored by Senator Connie Leyva, will place residents of mobile homes, condominiums, and rental housing on equal footing with homeowners when it comes to knowing about their rights under California law by requiring insurers to provide the Residential Property Insurance Disclosure statement and the California Residential Property Insurance Bill of Rights Disclosure.
In addition, Commissioner Lara supported Assembly Bill 1816, authored by Assembly Member Tom Daly, which will require insurers to provide at least a 75-day notice when they non-renew a homeowners’ policy for a policy that expires on or after July 1, 2020. This additional time will give homeowners a chance to shop for a new policy and consider their options.
If you would like to get updates from the DOI in your inbox, you can subscribe here.
As you can see, 2020 is all about change and moving forward.
Here is to a new decade filled with new business, new clients and new adventures.
As always it is our goal to offer you Easy CE and friendly customer service.