California Insurance Bills Meet Deadline for Passage

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June 1, 2012, was the deadline for Senate bills to be passed by the California State Senate and for Assembly bills to be passed by the California State Assembly. Bills that failed to meet the deadline are dead.

Senate bills that met the deadline are now being considered by the Assembly. Assembly bills that met the deadline are now being considered by the Senate.

This year’s regular legislative session will end on August 31.

Here are summaries of noteworthy insurance-related bills that survived the June 1 deadline. These bills will be considered by California legislators over the next 12 weeks. 

Senate Bills

SB 959 would repeal the additional reimbursement in excess of the workers’ compensation medical fee schedule for implantable medical hardware for spinal surgeries.

SB 1172 was expected to include provisions that would give the insurance commissioner the power to order an insurer or agent to pay restitution for Insurance Code violations. Those provisions never appeared in the bill, and SB 1172 now relates to psychotherapists. There is a possibility that the restitution provisions may be amended into another bill during the last weeks of the legislative session.

SB 1216 would conform California law to the NAIC Credit for Reinsurance Model Law

SB 1298 would permit a licensed driver to operate an autonomous vehicle on public roads if specified conditions are satisfied. The bill defines “autonomous vehicle” as a vehicle equipped with technology that has the capability to drive the vehicle without the active control or continuous monitoring by a human operator.    

SB 1448 would conform California law to the NAIC Insurance Holding Company System Regulatory Model Act.  

SB 1449 would broaden the definition of life insurance to include accelerated death benefits and waivers of surrender charges triggered by specified medical conditions.   

SB 1528 states an intention to establish a framework for compensating persons with injuries due to the fault of third parties. It is expected that SB 1528 will be amended with provisions that would nullify the California Supreme Court’s 2011 decision in Howell v. Hamilton Meats & Provisions, Inc., which held that a plaintiff’s recovery for medical damages is limited to the amount the medical care provider accepted for medical services. See the blog’s discussion of the Howell decision here.      

Assembly Bills

AB 52 would require health service plans and health insurers to obtain the insurance commissioner’s prior approval of rate changes.

AB 53 would require each admitted insurer with premiums of $100,000,000 or more to file with the insurance commissioner a report on its minority, women and disabled veteran-owned business procurement efforts.

AB 1551 would prohibit an insurer that issues or renews a private passenger auto policy to a peace officer or firefighter from increasing the premium for the policy because the peace officer or firefighter was involved in an accident while operating his or her private passenger auto in the performance of his or her duty at the request or direction of his or her employer.

AB 1687 would authorize the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board to award attorney’s fees to an applicant who prevails in a dispute that arises in the course of the medical utilization review process.

AB 1708 would authorize auto insurers to provide proof of insurance coverage in an electronic format that may be displayed on a mobile electronic device.

AB 2152 would require a health insurer to give the Department of Insurance prior notice before the insurer terminates its contract with a provider group or hospital to provide services at alternative rates of payment.

AB 2160 would direct the insurance commissioner to treat a domestic insurer’s investment in a company that has business operations in Iran as a non-admitted asset.

AB 2303 is the Department of Insurance’s omnibus bill which addresses a variety of matters including applications for non-resident surplus lines broker licenses, pre-licensing requirements for bail agents, the creation of a limited lines license for crop insurance adjusters and changes to the conservation and liquidation process. AB 2303 would repeal the provision that excludes policies that have been in effect less than 60 days from the statute that governs the cancellation of private passenger auto policies.

AB 2406 would require the insurance commissioner to include on the Department of Insurance's website information about requests for compensation submitted by parties seeking to intervene in rate change proceedings.