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Volume 5, No.2 - February 2016

In The Know

- Keeping you informed is what it's all about

Notice of Development of Rule 69B-186.010, Unlawful Inducements Related to Title Insurance Transactions

The Florida Department of Financial Services, Division of Insurance Agent & Agency Services, hereby provides Notice of Development of Rulemaking to Rule 69B-186.010, Florida Administrative Code, relating to Unlawful Inducements Related to Title Insurance Transactions. This notice has been filed with the Florida Department of State and is being officially published in the Florida Administrative Register on February 22, 2016.

The purpose of the intended rulemaking is to amend the rule to conform it to statutory language regarding unfair methods of competition and deceptive practices in the transaction of title insurance. The Department also intends to develop new language regarding the payment of fees and the rebate or the reimbursement of such fees in connection with such transactions.

A rule development workshop has been scheduled for April 7, 2016, 10:00 a.m. ‒ 12:00 noon.

You may access the full text of the notice via the following link:
https://www.flrules.org/gateway/View_Notice.asp?id=17191618

Citizens Relaunches Fraud Awareness Campaign Eliciting Agents’ Support

Citizens Property Insurance Corporation is embarking on a long range initiative to address insurance fraud, particularly as it relates to water loss claims that have risen at an alarming rate in recent years, especially in South Florida.

“Fraud: Identify It. Report It. Help Stop It.” is a public education campaign to increase awareness among Citizens agents, employees, policyholders and the public of the costs of insurance fraud and the ways to prevent it. In 2016, Citizens will reach out to agents and policyholders through mailers and other media to provide practical advice and spread the word that insurance fraud is everyone’s concern.

“At Citizens, we fight fraud all year long, but we can’t do it alone,” said Barry Gilway, Citizens President, CEO and Executive Director. “Knowledge and vigilance are powerful tools to identify, report and stop costly fraud.”

Statewide, water loss claims account for a third of every premium dollar collected by Citizens. In Miami Dade County, water claims soak up more than half of every dollar paid by Citizens policyholders. Those losses come despite evidence that other factors including construction type and age of home are not significantly different in Miami-Dade than in other parts of the state.

Fraudulent claims hurt nearby policyholders who must shoulder the burden of higher rates. Florida law requires that losses within a particular geographic territory be paid by policyholders within that territory. For 2016, Miami-Dade personal lines policyholders will see an average rate increase of more than 6 percent. Were it not for water claims, nine out of 10 Miami-Dade policyholders would see rate decreases next year.

Citizens has already taken internal steps to strengthen its fraud fighting resources by bolstering analytics and data mining capabilities for its Special Investigation Unit (SIU), Office of Internal Audit and Claims information Technology, Security and Agency Audit Departments.

Citizens’ investigators work closely with other agencies, particularly the Department of Financial Service to detect and prosecute fraudsters. The rate of referrals of possible fraud by Citizens to the Department’s Division of Insurance Fraud has more than tripled since 2010.

“Fraud is a serious crime and affects us all. That is why it is critical that Citizens addresses this issue,” said Joseph Theobald, Citizens SIU Director. “Everyone at Citizens plays an important role in helping to stop fraud.”

CMS and Marketplace News

CMS Consumer Tax Tool for the 2015 Tax Season

With the 2015 tax season underway, CMS has made the Health Coverage Tax Tool available to help consumers with their tax questions. The tax tool helps consumers claim the affordability exemption and calculate their Premium Tax Credit (PTC).

Consumers should access the tax tool only if one of the following situations applies:

  • The information on the consumer’s health care tax Form 1095-A about his or her “second lowest cost Silver plan” is missing or incorrect in Part III, Column B of the form.
  • The consumer wants to claim an “affordability exemption,” meaning 2015 coverage was unaffordable to the consumer. If he or she qualifies for this exemption, the consumer does not have to pay the fee for not being covered in 2015.

Additional information on these situations is available at: https://www.healthcare.gov/tax-forms-and-tools/. Watch for additional emails from CMS in the coming weeks providing information on additional tools and information on tax season readiness.

Remember: While you may provide information to consumers about this new tool, the tax credit reconciliation process, and the tax forms they will receive, it is important that you not provide any tax filing advice or answer any tax filing questions. Please refer those seeking answers to their questions or advice regarding their personal situation to a tax professional for assistance or to the tax assistance options available at IRS.gov/freefile or IRS.gov/VITA.

Updated Tax Materials Now Available

CMS has just released a number of tax-related resources at Marketplace.CMS.gov, which you can access by selecting the “Technical Resources” link. You can share these resources with consumers to help them understand the effect of having health coverage on their 2015 federal taxes.

CMS has provided two fact sheets on tax-related issues: “How Health Coverage Affects Your Taxes” and “No Health Coverage? What That Means for Your Taxes.”

For additional resources that summarize the fact sheets content, you can also check out the drop-in articles “How Health Coverage Affects Your Taxes” and “No Health Coverage in 2015? What That Means for Your Taxes.”

Please refer consumers seeking answers to their questions or advice regarding their personal situations to a tax professional for assistance or to the tax assistance. For more information on the tax assistance options available, direct consumers to: IRS.gov/freefile or IRS.gov/VITA.

New Marketplace Resources Available

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has posted slides from the January 26 session of the “Open Enrollment: Operational Updates and Announcements for Agents and Brokers Participating in the Federally-facilitated Marketplaces (FFMs)” webinar series on the Agents and Brokers Resources webpage.

You can now find the full set of slides from the Open Enrollment weekly webinar series on the webpage. These webinars include information for you on how to help consumers select, enroll in, and use their Marketplace coverage, such as the HealthCare.gov look-up features and how to prepare for tax season.

Looking for additional Marketplace resources? Check out the new Agent and Broker Roadmap to Resources, a quick guide to resources for CMS and our federal partners that we have developed to help you navigate the FFMs and other health coverage topics.

 

The Florida Statutes Are Available Online

The Florida Statutes can be viewed at Online Sunshine - Title XXXVII Insurance.