South Carolina Issues Hurricane Assistance Bulletin

In the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian, the South Carolina Department of Insurance issued Bulletin 2019-08 on September 6, 2019, requiring additional assistance from all licensed entities or individuals. The Bulletin requires insurers, HMOs, and other licensed or authorized entities and individuals to assist and work with South Carolina citizens and business impacted by the hurricane by providing additional relief from certain standard requirements.

The Department provides a non-exhaustive list of examples of relief which it expects insurers to extend to citizens and businesses, including: extending premium payment and proof of loss deadlines, allowing additional time before non-renewals or cancellations, waiving limitations relating to the use of out-of-network providers and one early refill or replacement refill for prescription drugs as well as a waiver of fees and penalties relating to any insured’s temporary inability to submit premium payments or otherwise respond as the result of the declared disaster. While the Department maintains that all licensees must comply with South Carolina law, any exceptions or relief focused on providing additional consumer protections and applied consistently to all insureds directly impacted by the hurricane will not be considered unfairly discriminatory.

For more information about South Carolina’s Bulletin 2019-08, or any other regulatory compliance matters, please contact Westmont Associates, Inc.

 

Florida Grants Insurers the Right to Contribution for Defense Costs

 

In addition to its previously reported surplus lines updates, Florida’s House Bill 301 added a new statute to the Florida Code, Fla. Stat. § 624.1055, which requires any court hearing a liability case to allocate defense costs among all liability insurers who owe a duty to defend the insured against the claim or suit in accordance with the terms of the liability insurance policies. The court is free to use any such equitable factors it determines are appropriate in making an allocation. Any liability insurer entitled to contribution may file an action for contribution in any court of competent jurisdiction.
 
The statute is meant to prevent insurers from avoiding their duty to share in the defense of an insured. It applies to all liability policies issued in Florida or liability policies issued in other states under which the insurer has a duty to defend an insured in suits or actions filed in Florida. It also applies to any liability policy issued under the Florida Surplus Lines Law.
 
For any questions regarding Fla. Stat. § 624.1055, or for inquiries regarding the apportionment of costs, please contact Westmont Associates, Inc.

 

Insurance Data Security Legislation Continues to Roll Out

On August 2, 2019, New Hampshire passed Senate Bill 194 implementing insurance data security requirements by adding RSA 420-P:1 et seq. to the New Hampshire Code. The bill requires licensees to implement procedures to meet certain standards of data security, investigate a cybersecurity event, and notify the Commissioner.

 

Under SB 194, each licensee shall perform a risk assessment to identify foreseeable threats that could lead to a cybersecurity event. Following that assessment, licensees must create an information security program, tailoring it to its risk assessment while also considering its size and complexity, nature and scope of its activities (including the use of third-party services), and the sensitivity of the nonpublic information in the licensee’s possession. If a company is in compliance with the NYDFS Cybersecurity Regulations, NH will deem that company compliant with its requirements.

 

New Hampshire’s data privacy initiative comes on the heels of Connecticut and Delaware passing similar legislation on July 26 and July 30, respectively. Delaware’s compliance deadline comes first on July 31, 2020, followed by Connecticut on October 1, 2020. Lastly, New Hampshire’s compliance deadline is on January 1, 2021. Both NH and DE have adopted variants of the NAIC Model law whereas CT has chosen to follow the NYDFS Cybersecurity Regulations. What this means for those insurers writing across state lines is that they will need to ensure that their cybersecurity plans comply with each states separate requirements.

 

For any questions about NH Senate Bill 194, or any other states data security requirements, please contact Westmont Associates, Inc.