2011 in Review: 10 Biggest Insurance Regulatory Headliners

Fred Karlinsky and Richard Fidei and Elizabeth Fohl   By Fred E. Karlinsky, Richard J. Fidei, and Elizabeth M. Fohl, Attorneys, Colodny, Fass, Talenfeld, Karlinsky & Abate

Fred E. Karlinsky, Richard J. Fidei, and Elizabeth M. Fohl of the law firm of of Colodny, Fass, Talenfeld, Karlinsky & Abate have written a round-up of the ten most important federal and state insurance regulatory developments in 2011 across the nation. Among the highlights of insurance regulatory developments in 2011 were:

(1) Substantial amendments to the Insurance Holding Company System Model Act and Regulation as to divestiture, pre-acquisition notice, transactions subject to prior notice, a new requirement to file an enterprise risk report, financial statements, the role of the Board of Directors, and examinations

(2) A new Model Unclaimed Life Insurance Benefits Act by the National Conference of State Legislators requires insurers to compare in force life insurance policies and retained asset accounts with the U.S. Social Security Death Master File ("DMF") to identify any potential matches.  It also requires insurers to confirm an insured or account holder's death, locate any beneficiaries, and provide claims forms and instructions;

(3) Extension of the National Flood Insurance Program-- On December 23, 2011, the President an extension of the NFIP until May 31, 2012.  During the 2011 Session, other bills were introduced, one in particular that would have funded the NFIP for five years while simultaneously reforming the NFIP's rate structure and mapping protocols;

(4) New state requirements as to certificates of insurance--several states took action to clarify and strengthen laws related to certificates of insurance, including AZ, GA, KY, MD, MA, MO, NH, NJ, NM, ND, OK, RI, TX, UT and VA.

(5) New state laws implementing the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act were enacted by AL,AR,AZ, CA, CO, CT, DE, FL, GA, HI, ID, IL, In, IA, KS, KY, LA, ME, MD, MA, MI, MN, MS, MO, MT, NE, NV, NJ, NH, NM, NY, NC, ND, OH, OK, OR, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VT, VA, WA, WV, WI and WY;

(6) Implementation of the federal Nonadmitted and Reinsurance Reform Act which is a part of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act-a feature of the commentary is its analysis of the NRRA ;

(7) Consolidation of the New York Insurance Department and Banking Department--the new Department of Financial Services is responsible for some unique undertakings, such as captive legislation and the Holocaust Claim Processing Office;

(8) Wisconsin's requirement of surplus lines form filings-as a result of a court decision fully described in the commentary the Wisconsin Office of the Commissioner of Insurance issued a bulletin to all surplus lines insurers confirming that the OCI does not consider surplus lines policy forms to be subject to their review and approval.

(9) Florida's new sinkhole coverage legislation-among many other provisions of the new law discussed in the commentary insurers may now require a property inspection before issuance of sinkhole loss coverage and new law now requires notice of initial, supplemental, and reopened claims under an insurance policy providing sinkhole coverage to be given to the insurer within two years after the policyholder knew or reasonably should have known about the sinkhole loss; and

(10) 2011 witnessed an unusually high number of new insurance commissioners, former commissioners retaking positions, and re-elections of existing state insurance commissioners.

Fred E. Karlinsky, Esq., a shareholder of Colodny, Fass, Talenfeld, Karlinsky & Abate, practices in the areas of insurance regulatory law, transactional law and governmental affairs.  Mr. Karlinsky represents both foreign and domestic insurers and reinsurers throughout the United States and internationally in all elements of the insurance and reinsurance business.  He advises clients on operational issues including start-up activities, structuring and financing, vendor relationships and a complete array of regulatory issues including licensure, compliance, expansion, solvency, rate and form filings and financial and market conduct examinations.

Mr. Karlinsky speaks on insurance legislative and regulatory matters at national, international and corporate insurance conferences, and frequently authors insurance-related articles for national publications, including the Federation of Regulatory Council Journal and the American Bar Association Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Law Journal.  He attends all meetings of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, National Conference of Insurance Legislators and Southeastern Regulators Association throughout the year.

Rated "AV" by Martindale-Hubbell, Mr. Karlinsky was listed among the top Florida insurance lawyers in Chambers USA 2011 and has been named over the course of multiple years to Florida Trend Magazine's Legal Elite, the Top Lawyers Section of South Florida Legal Guide, and as a Florida Super Lawyer.  He is the Florida lobbyist for the Property and Casualty Insurers Association of America and lead lobbyist and General Counsel to the Florida Property and Casualty Association.

Mr. Karlinsky is currently a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation, an honor limited to one-third of one percent of attorneys in America, and is a member of the American Association of Managing General Agents, the Association of Insurance Compliance Professionals, the Federation of Regulatory Counsel, the International Association of Insurance Professionals, the International Association of Insurance Receivers, the National Association of Professional Surplus Lines Offices, the Society of Financial Examiners, the Surplus Lines Law Group and the Industry Education Council of the National Conference of Insurance Legislators, among other national professional organizations.

In 2011, Mr. Karlinsky was appointed to Florida's Seventeenth Circuit Judicial Nominating Commission by Governor Rick Scott.  He also was recently admitted to the Roll of Solicitors of the Senior Courts of England and Wales.

Mr. Karlinsky serves as an Adjunct Professor of Law at the Florida State University College of Law, where he teaches a course he helped to create, titled "Insurance Law:  A Law and Economics Perspective."  In 2011, he was appointed to the Florida State University Foundation Board of Trustees.

Mr. Karlinsky can be reached at fkarlinsky@cftlaw.com or +1 954 332 1749.

Richard J. Fidei, Esq., a partner at the law firm of Colodny, Fass, Talenfeld, Karlinsky & Abate, represents insurance and reinsurance companies, brokers and other related entities in a broad spectrum of regulatory, transactional and corporate matters, as well as in claim and dispute resolution proceedings.

A member of the Florida and Pennsylvania Bars, he also represents health maintenance organizations, managing general agencies, brokers, premium finance companies, third-party administrators, claims companies and other insurance-related entities in connection with regulatory, compliance, administrative and transactional issues.

Mr. Fidei serves as national General Counsel to the Association of Insurance Compliance Professionals ("AICP") and as President of the AICP Gulf States Chapter.  He is also is a member of the Federation of Regulatory Counsel, the American Association of Managing General Agents and the International Association of Insurance Receivers.

An experienced legal instructor and lecturer who has been certified by the American Bankers Association, Mr. Fidei prepares and delivers insurance and reinsurance presentations nationwide.

Mr. Fidei can be contacted at rfidei@cftlaw.com or +1 954 332 1758.

Elizabeth M. Fohl, Esq., an associate at the law firm of Colodny, Fass, Talenfeld, Karlinsky & Abate, practices in the areas of insurance regulatory and compliance law, commercial transactions and corporate matters.

Her practice includes the acquisition, expansion and financing activities of insurers and insurance related entities and counseling clients on a variety of regulatory compliance issues, including financial and market conduct examinations, holding company reports and filings, rate and form filings and solvency issues.  Ms. Fohl also handles complex commercial transactions as well as general business entities matters.

Ms. Fohl can be reached at efohl@cftlaw.com or +1 954 332 1741.

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