Procedural Updates

2019 Annual Late Filing Report to Run March 19

SLTX’s annual late filing report, which lists all Texas surplus lines policies that were not timely filed in 2019, will be generated on March 19, 2020. Policies are considered late if they are not filed with SLTX within 60 days of issuance or the effective date, whichever is later.

Under the Texas Administrative Code, SLTX must submit the annual late filing report to the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) no later than the first business day in April of each year for the previous calendar year. At this time, no additional changes can be made to the report. However, if a late filing adjustment has been approved and TDI has previously determined a policy that was originally included on a monthly late filing report should be considered timely filed, it will not be included on the annual late filing report.

Beginning March 19, 2020, agents and brokers who file electronically and have submitted an untimely filed policy in 2019 will be able to access an electronic copy of the report as a courtesy and pre-notification. The report can be found in SLTX’s online filing system by accessing the “Reporting” tab on the left navigation menu. Select “EOM/EOY Reports” from the “Listings” drop-down menu at the top of the screen. Choose the “Late Filing Reports” radio button, and the annual late filing report will be displayed as the most recent report listed, if available.

SLTX will send the official 2019 Annual Late Filing Report by certified mail to all agents and brokers included on the report. Those who are not included on the report will not see it listed in the online filing system and will not receive a letter from SLTX by certified mail.

The report will include a list of all policies that were not timely filed, as well as the number of days late for each, the total percentage of late policies for the year, a calculation of total fees due, and the number of policies sent to enforcement, if any. Assessments and enforcement actions are determined by statute and all fees should be submitted directly to TDI. The TDI Late Filers Fee Payment Form will be included within the certified mailing.

TDI Adopts Updated Surplus Lines Rules for Military Spouses

The Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) has adopted new rules for surplus lines agents in Texas who are military spouses, effective February 6, 2020. As part of the adoption, a new section has been added to Title 28, Section 15.101 of the Texas Administrative Code (TAC), which relates to licensing of surplus lines agents.

The addition states that military spouses who are licensed in a state with substantially equivalent requirements to those in Texas are eligible for a surplus lines license while the military service member is stationed at a military installation in Texas. The military spouse must submit an application to TDI, submit proof of residency in Texas and a copy of the spouse’s military identification card, and show evidence of good standing from the jurisdiction with substantially equivalent requirements. Once confirmed, the license is effective for three years.

Senate Bill 1200, which was passed by the Texas Legislature during the 2019 legislative session, amends state code to address the authority of military spouses to engage in business or occupation in the state of Texas. As a result, sections of the TAC must be revised to implement the legislation. In addition to surplus lines rules, TDI has amended portions of the code regarding corporate and financial regulation, licensing and regulation of insurance professionals, insurance premium finance, and state fire marshal.

These rules were first proposed in October 2019. The proposed and adopted sections can be found in their entirety on the TDI website.

Late-Filed Policy Corrections Must be Made by February 15

SLTX will accept corrections or adjustment forms for late-filed policies included on November or December 2019 monthly late filers reports until Saturday, February 15, 2020. After this date, no additional modifications can be made to the annual late filers report.

Under Texas statute, SLTX is required to file an annual late filers report with the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) no later than the first business day of April. The report lists all surplus lines insurance policies that were filed after the filing deadline during the previous calendar year. A policy appears late if it is filed more than 60 days after the effective date or issue date of the policy, whichever is later.

A new Texas Administrative Code rule took effect on December 30, 2018, that requires surplus lines agents to notify SLTX within 90 days or by February 15 of the following year, whichever is earlier, if a policy that they believe to be timely filed appears on a monthly late filers report. After that time has passed, the agent waives the right to later dispute the timeliness of the filing. Because of this timeline, only policies included on the November or December 2019 monthly late filers report may be disputed.

For information on retrieving monthly reports through the online filing system, view the SLTX Obtaining End-of-Month Reports How-to Guide. Make corrections or complete and submit the Monthly Late Filing – Request for Adjustment form, which can be found on the SLTX website. Corrections must be received by Saturday, February 15, 2020.

The Texas Insurance Code Sec. 981.105 details the regulatory remedies that the Commissioner of Insurance may take for late-filed surplus lines policies. Fees and/or enforcement actions imposed will take into consideration how many days elapsed after the filing deadline before the policy was reported and the broker’s late filing record over the previous year.

Contact the Tech Support team with any questions regarding the annual late filers report.

Electronic Policy Filings and Payments Accepted by SLTX

In an effort to provide streamlined facilitation of surplus lines policy filings, SLTX encourages electronic filings and payments through its Electronic Filing System (EFS).

Those who have an existing EFS account may view and pay invoices electronically through the online system. For those who do not yet have an account, registration may be completed through the SLTX website. Users are not required to file surplus lines policies electronically to gain access to the online payment portal but must have credentials to enter the system.

SLTX accepts payments via credit card or Automated Clearing House (ACH). Once logged in to EFS, a “Pay Invoices” button will be visible on the left navigation menu. Entering the payment portal will open a new, secure tab in the browser. For step-by-step instructions, SLTX has created a how-to guide on the online invoice payment process. The guide is located on the SLTX Broker Forms page of the SLTX website.

There is no additional fee to make ACH payments, but credit card transactions require a 3.25% processing fee. User information and payment details will remain secure and confidential, and no account information will be stored by SLTX. Those who require an ACH Blocker Number or Company ID to conduct business via ACH transaction should provide SLTX’s ID number to their financial institutions: 1841393599

For more information, please contact SLTX at (512) 531-1880 or (800) 681-5848.

SLTX Welcomes Stone as Director of ITS

Sholonda Stone has joined SLTX as Director of Information & Technology Services (ITS), effective January 13, 2020. Stone previously served as Systems Administrator for SLTX from 2013-2017. Since then, she has been a Customer Support Engineer and Product Specialist for Blue Prism in Austin, Texas.

In her new position, Stone will be responsible for SLTX’s technology initiatives, implementation, and reinvestment. Additionally, she will oversee development of the new SMART system, which will replace the current Electronic Filing System (EFS).

Stone is a VMware Certified Associate in Digital Business Transformation. She brings more than 17 years of technology development and management experience to the position.

FEMA Announces 2020 NFIP Reinsurance Program

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has announced its 2020 reinsurance placement for the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). For the 2020 period, FEMA transferred $1.33 billion of the NFIP’s risk to the private reinsurance market through 27 companies.

Total premium for the reinsurance coverage comes to $205 million. It will cover portions of loss above $4 billion arising from a single flood event. As part of the agreement, 10.25% of losses between $4 billion and $6 billion, 34.68% of losses between $6 billion and $8 billion, and 21.80% of losses between $8 billion and $10 billion will be covered.

FEMA received authority to purchase reinsurance coverage for the NFIP through the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012 and the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2014. This year, FEMA contracted with Guy Carpenter and Company, a subsidiary of Marsh & McLennan Companies, to secure the reinsurance placement. The agency also contracted with Aon for financial advisory services.

This coverage is in addition to a $500 million capital markets reinsurance placement in August 2018 and a $300 million placement in April 2019. Overall, FEMA has transferred $2.13 billion in NFIP flood risk to the private market.

“It takes the whole community to prepare for disasters, and that includes participation from the private sector. Through reinsurance, FEMA partners with private markets to build a pillar that supports a sound financial framework for the NFIP by a meaningful transfer of flood risk,” said David Maurstad, Deputy Associate Administrator of the NFIP.

Aug Named SLTX Director of Finance

Donna Aug has joined SLTX as Director of Finance, effective January 6, 2020. She joins from Northstar Fire Protection and Northstar Alarm & Suppression System, where she served as Controller for 11 years. Prior to this role, she was Controller of Sign Tech International for 4 years.

In her new position, Aug is responsible for managing and coordinating SLTX’s Finance Department, which includes responsibility for accounting and financial analysis.

Aug is a member of Financial Executives International, the Central Texas Chapter of Construction Financial Management Association, and the National Association of Professional Women. She holds a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Business Administration from California State University, Fullerton.

TWIA Posts Upcoming Legislative Changes

The Texas Windstorm Insurance Association (TWIA) has published a list of changes that will take effect through January 2021 that will change how TWIA provides wind and hail insurance on the Texas coast. These changes are necessary due to laws that were enacted during the 2019 legislative session.

Some changes have already taken effect, such as a law that allows eligible surplus lines insurers to write windstorm and hail insurance in TWIA’s coverage area and a rule allowing the Commissioner of Insurance to extend claim deadlines for TWIA policyholders. Upcoming changes include rules that affect policyholders, as well as calls for reports and studies regarding the organization.

Beginning January 1, 2020, policies will be automatically renewed, though the policyholder has the opportunity to cancel before renewal. In January 2021, policyholders will have the option to pay their premium in installments and TWIA will begin accepting premium by credit card payments.

TWIA has made a full list of the forthcoming changes available on its website.

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