HR Management & Compliance

Workers’ Comp And Commercial Insurance: New Law Makes Changing Insurers Easier

You may be shopping around for new workers’ compensation or other business insurance because your current insurer has decided not to renew your policy, or it wants to make significant changes in your coverage.

Or you may simply be trying to get a better deal. Regardless of the reason, many employers looking to change carriers run into a thorny dilemma. Prospective insurers may want to see your claims history before selling you a policy. But you may have to wait weeks-even months-to get this information from your old carrier, making it difficult to get new insurance.

Governor Wilson recently signed a new law that will make it easier for you to get access to your loss data in certain situations. We’ll give you the details and explain how to increase your chances of promptly obtaining your claims history information.

400+ pages of state-specific, easy-read reference materials at your fingertips—fully updated! Check out the Guide to Employment Law for California Employers and get up to speed on everything you need to know.

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The new law applies to workers’ comp insurance and commercial insurance, but not to professional liability coverage. It is triggered by a notice of nonrenewal from your carrier. This notice is required not only when the issuer won’t renew your policy, but also if they want to reduce coverage, cut policy limits, increase deductibles, or boost premiums by more than 25%.

When you receive a notice of nonrenewal, you can make a written request for your premium and loss history for the past three years, or for however long the insurer has had the policy, whichever is shorter. The carrier then has 15 business days to provide you with the information for business policies and 10 days for workers’ comp policies. The law takes effect January 1, 1998.

Getting Information In Other Situations

Although the new regulations only cover cases where your insurer sends you a nonrenewal notice, here’s what you can do if you need loss information in other circumstances:

  • Special workers’ comp insurance rights. The 1993 workers’ comp reforms give you the right to get information-for a fee-on loss experience, claims and classification assignments from the Workers’ Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau, One Market Plaza, Spear Street Tower, Suite 500, San Francisco, CA 94105, phone (415) 777-0777.
  • Commercial insurance. Your broker may have premium and loss history data on your commercial policy. If not, make a written request to your carrier for a report. If the carrier doesn’t send it to you in a reasonable amount of time, call the California Department of Insurance consumer hotline, (800) 927-4357.

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