Procedural Updates

SLTX to Provide Updates on Coverage and Class Codes

The Surplus Lines Stamping Office of Texas is pleased to announce upcoming updates to numerous coverage and class codes. With the exception of few changes, SLTX coverage and class codes have not undergone a full update for over 20 years. Over time the market has grown, and with that, stakeholder needs have changed as well. Because of this, SLTX is committed to understanding new developments and needs within the insurance industry to better capture various trends in the growing market.

Our research suggests that by updating coverage and class codes, filing agents will have access to a code selection which more accurately coincides with current industry language and products (e.g. Cannabis, Professional (Medical Malpractice), Property, etc.). Additionally, SLTX will have the opportunity to encompass industry interests as well as track market insights when viewing data reports. By separately capturing commercial and residential designations on the coverage code level, SLTX’s reporting on this data will be more accurate and more efficient.

Research shows current E&O liability is included within Other Professional Liability coverages; however, E&O liability has become such a prominent coverage that it should be captured separately. This will allow the coverage to be distinguished from other, more infrequent professional liability coverages. Other coverages, including cannabis crop, has grown significantly over the last few years and should be identified separately to capture its growth. Lastly, the recent rise in natural disasters in Texas has illuminated the residential property market and, therefore, should be distinguishable.

In addition to updating coverage and class codes, SLTX will provide online learning materials to better aid in the transition. These specific trainings will become available on our website, and agents will be notified of each release. Additionally, SLTX tech support will be reaching out individually to automated filers to ensure their product code mappings are updated appropriately. The goal for the beginning of this new transition is on January 1st, 2021.

The stamping office is here to provide aid and excellent customer service to all in our industry. If there are any questions or concerns, please utilize our  “Submit your Questions” page on our website.

TDI calls for data collection for 2019 North Texas storm

The Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) has issued a data call to all insurers, including surplus lines insurers and insurers licensed to write property and casualty insurance in Texas, for the wind, hail, thunderstorm, and flood event that took place on October 20, 2019, in North Texas. Please visit TDI’s website for data call instructions and related information.

Only companies required to report property lines in 2020 under the statistical plan are required to report data for this event. A list of the surplus lines companies which are required to respond to the data call can be found directly on TDI’s website relating to the data collection bulletin.

Companies must send all reports to TDI’s statistical agent, Insurance Services Office, Inc. (ISO). ISO needs reporting insurers to complete the attached form on Bulletin #B-0040-20 to set up the appropriate credentials for statistical reporting. Please return the form to ISO at TXCatStatAgent@verisk.com. Any questions about registering with ISO should be sent to TXCatStatAgent@verisk.com. Once your registration is processed, ISO will provide you with your credentials and relevant reporting instructions.

Property insurers should contact ISO even if the company does not have any claims to report for the wind, hail, thunderstorm, and flood event. These companies will still be required to respond to TDI’s bulletin as provided in the statistical plan.

The first report for data as of September 30, 2020, is due December 28, 2020. Subsequent reports are due on a quarterly basis, 30 days after the end of the quarter. For any questions about how to submit data to ISO, please contact TXCatStatAgent@verisk.com.

SMART Release Updates October 2020

On June 19, 2020, SLTX released portions of its new online filing system, SMART. This release contained filing features that are specific to automated or “programmatic” filers as these filing methods make up with the largest majority of the transactions filed with SLTX. Beta testing is ongoing and feedback by automated filing broker users is strongly encouraged as broker testing is the primary mechanism to ensure data related scenarios are handled effectively and efficiently. If you, as an automated filer, have not requested the updated Technical Reference and User Guides, please contact the SLTX Tech Support team by email.

The focus of October’s release are features for the Reporting module, which will allow SLTX to transition away from existing legacy applications. Once complete, both internal and external users will be able to access reports directly through the SMART application. Once the Reporting modules are complete, SLTX will resume work on the internal and external filing modules to include manual entry, transaction inquiry, and corrections. Development and subsequent releases relating to these specific filing modules will resume in early 2021.

While beta testing and feedback are ongoing, current EFS processes and procedures will continue to be available. Both systems will remain functional and work concurrently until the entire suite of features in SMART are fully delivered.

With each new release or significant deployment, additional notifications will be sent to existing users of SLTX’s Electronic Filing System (EFS). These notifications may also be found directly on our website under News>Procedural Updates.

Please contact the SLTX Tech Support team by email or phone at (512) 531-1880 or (800) 681-5848 with any questions

TDI Commissioner Approves SLTX Stamping Fee Decrease

Texas Department of Insurance Commissioner Kent Sullivan signed an Order decreasing the stamping fee from the current rate of 0.15% of gross premium to 0.075%. The fee reduction aligns with the recommendation submitted to the Commissioner by the SLTX Board on June 25, 2020.  The new fee will become effective January 1, 2021.

Additionally, SLTX provided notice yesterday that it would reduce the number of lead-days allowed for transactions from 90 days to 45 days; however, because the fee and timing of the change were received today, SLTX has made the necessary adjustments to our system(s) and rescinded the notice.  We will resume acceptance of transactions with the standard lead-time of 90 days. Given the January 1st timing of the fee change and the standard 90-day lead-time, SLTX does not expect that any late filings to be generated due to this change.

The Official Order, SLTX Board recommendation, and associated documents can be found on the TDI website here.

To add clarity to the timing and application of the new rate, SLTX provided the following to TSLA: The new stamping fee rate will apply to each new or renewal surplus lines policy with an effective date on or after January 1, 2021. The new rate will also apply to policy date extensions if effective on or after this date. Policies effective on or before December 31, 2020, will run to expiration, cancellation, or next annual anniversary date (for multi-year policies) at the old rate of .15%. This includes any subsequent endorsements, audits, cancellations, reinstatements, installments, and monthly or quarterly reports.

The stamping office is here to provide aid and excellent customer service to all in our industry. If there are any questions or concerns, please utilize our “Submit your Questions” page on our website.

SLTX to Temporarily Reduce Lead Days for Accepting Filings

The Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) is currently reviewing the SLTX Board recommendation to reduce the stamping fee.  While awaiting feedback and in an abundance of caution, SLTX will not accept any filing with an effective date of 01/01/2021 or later until feedback is received, or a new effective date is determined. This will allow SLTX to be proactive in applying the current stamping fee rates while not accepting transactions where a new rate might apply. To facilitate this change, SLTX will be reducing the number of lead-days allowed for making a future filing from 90 days to 45 days. During this time, any submitted transactions with an effective date later than 45 days (in advance) will be tagged (errored).

Once fee approval is received from TDI, SLTX will resume its acceptance of transactions with the standard lead-time of 90 days.  At that time, any tagged (errored) transactions should be resubmitted for processing. Given the lead-time, SLTX does not expect that any late filings to be generated due to this change.

For additional information or if you need assistance, please contact the SLTX Tech Support team.

Sullivan to step down as Insurance Commissioner

His TDI modernization effort led to faster, better customer service

 

Kent Sullivan has notified Governor Abbott that he will resign as Texas Insurance Commissioner in September to return to the private sector. Sullivan became head of the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) in October 2017 and has led a major modernization effort in his three years at the agency.

sullivan-vertical-cropped.jpg“Texas is grateful to Kent Sullivan for his leadership at the Texas Department of Insurance,” Governor Abbott said. “Under his tenure, TDI was responsible for protecting insurance consumers in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey—the largest natural disaster in Texas history. The Lone Star State is better today because of Kent’s service, and I wish him well as he returns to private practice.”

TDI regulates the second-largest insurance market in the nation and the seventh-largest in the world. The agency’s modernization push has led to faster service in complaint resolution and agent licensing, an increase in online licensing applications, and a major organizational restructuring.

“Governor Abbott asked me to lead this agency shortly after Hurricane Harvey ravaged the Texas coast, and I was happy to help out in a challenging time,” Sullivan said. “TDI staff are sincerely committed to protecting consumers, and I’m proud of the work we’ve done to help them do their jobs more effectively.”

The agency has reduced its reliance on paper, streamlined rule development, and increased automation, training, and technical support in its call center operations. It made a seamless transition to remote work in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and it just implemented an artificial intelligence project that holds the promise of transforming state policy reviews.

Sullivan has more than 35 years of legal experience and was a partner in several private law firms before becoming Insurance Commissioner. He previously served as a Texas Court of Appeals justice, a state district court judge, and first assistant attorney general for the Texas Office of the Attorney General.

For more information, contact: MediaRelations@tdi.texas.gov

Updated SMART Features Released August 2020

On June 19, 2020, SLTX released portions of its new online filing system, SMART. At this time, surplus lines agents and brokers utilizing the automated filing can begin reviewing necessary changes and testing the new system. A separate communication was sent directly to any existing automated filing agencies, which includes specifics about this latest deployment.

SLTX’s SMART technology uses agile project management methodology, allowing portions of the system to be released as they are developed. This promotes flexibility and adaptability in which changes can be made as needed throughout the process.

The latest release includes “delete” transactions for the application programming interface (API), bug fixes and process improvements, as well as aspects relating to internal filing. Additionally, updates to the API and SMART Connector technical guides as well as the SMART API User Guide have been published. Continued beta testing and feedback by broker users are ongoing and strongly encouraged as testing is the primary mechanism to ensure data related scenarios are handled effectively and efficiently.

Adobe will no longer support Flash by the end of 2020. This led SLTX to reprioritize its development and begin work on the reporting elements of SMART sooner than initially anticipated. Work for this module was originally slated for much later in the project timeline, but as SLTX’s current platform uses Flash to manage report generation and view features, it is necessary to transition completely out of this module before support ends. Delays regarding delivery of additional or new features in SMART which relate to external filing may occur. Once reporting modules are complete, SLTX will resume work on the external filing modules to include manual entry, transaction inquiry, and corrections.

As beta testing and feedback are ongoing, current EFS processes and procedures will continue to be available. Both systems will remain functional and work concurrently until the entire suite of features in SMART are fully delivered.

With each new release or significant deployment, additional notifications will be sent to existing users of SLTX’s Electronic Filing System (EFS).

Please contact the SLTX Tech Support team by email or phone at (512) 531-1880 or (800) 681-5848 with any questions.

Policy Limit Requirements Still in Effect

In accordance with rules promulgated by the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI), surplus lines policies effective on or after 12/30/2018 must include policy limits (28 TAC §15.106(b)(3)).

To expedite the collection of this data, you should utilize the Policy Limit field within SLTX’s online filing system. This field is available for all new and renewal policies, binders, premium bearing endorsements, and updates. While submission through EFS is preferred, policy limits will still be collected through the file upload portal below. An Excel template may be utilized to transmit the data. The file name must include the SURPLUS LINES TDI License Number. Alternatively, you may submit a declarations page with any supplemental pages as a PDF to comply. The submission methods available are as follows:

  1. EFS Policy Limit field (preferred)
  2. Excel Template (preferred) (MUST USE THIS FORMAT)
  3. PDF Declarations and relevant supplemental pages (PDF)

Multiple documents may be submitted as a zip file through the form on the File Portal Upload page. The max file size limit is 25 MB. If you do not know your SURPLUS LINES TDI License Number, you may look it up on TDI’s Agent Lookup.

While SLTX simplified the policy limit filing to the ‘highest aggregate limit” per policy, there are additional clarifications for the agent community to include:

  • Property Policies– Total Insurable Value (TIV) for all properties on the policy (both in and outside of the state)
  • Liability Policies– Aggregate Limit
  • Package policies(property & liability) – TIV for all properties on the policy (both in and outside of the state)
  • Other – Accident & Health– Maximum Benefit, aka Total Sum (excluding occupational A&H, which are not required to report)

Additionally, SLTX will continue to not reject any filings due to policy limit errors. Policy limit errors will NOT cause a monthly or annual late filing report to TDI.

From the inception, the filing response to include policy limit information to SLTX has been extremely positive. Thus, another reason to thank the hundreds of brokers who are reporting information to our office. Those not yet in compliance are reminded that this regulation stands for all policies effective on or after 12/30/2018. After input from TDI, SLTX should receive a full set of policy limit data for 2020 filings.

For additional assistance, an infographic on policy limit requirements is available on the SLTX website.

If you are unable to comply with this requirement or need additional assistance, please contact the SLTX Tech Support team by phone at (512) 531-1880 or (800) 681-5848 (Option 2) or by email.

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