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Utah Insurance

Take Stock Before Disaster Strikes

Review your insurance and home inventory to ensure your property is protected.

Nearly 1 million Utahns participated in yesterday’s Great Utah ShakeOut, an annual drill designed to help people prepare for an earthquake. In the aftermath of the mock-quake, the Utah Insurance Department urges people to consider the longer-term consequences of a major disaster.

“Time spent preparing for what to do during a disaster can mean the difference between life and death, but it’s also important to consider what happens after you make it out alive,” said Utah Insurance Commissioner Todd E. Kiser. “Reviewing your insurance policy annually can reveal gaps in coverage that could mean further trouble. For many Utahns, one such gap is earthquake insurance.”

Utahns should re-evaluate their risk profile at least once a year to ensure their homeowners policy provides the protection they need. Questions to consider include:

  • Am I now at risk? Are earthquakes a threat in my area? Do I need earthquake insurance?
  • What has changed in my home? Did the number of people increase or decrease? Have I made any major purchases?
  • Have I updated my home with a kitchen renovation or other improvements?
  • Should I look at different coverage? Can I save money by bundling my home and auto insurance?

A recent National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) survey revealed that 56 percent of homeowners have not reviewed their insurance policies in more than a year and 14 percent are unsure when — if ever — they last reviewed their policies. Nearly half of homeowners (44 percent) have a home inventory, but more than 40 percent of those homeowners have not updated it in more than a year.

The survey also shed light on generational differences to approaching home insurance. Compared to Gen Xers and baby boomers, millennials are more likely to have reviewed or updated their insurance policy within the last five years. Millennials also are more likely to have a home inventory and to have reviewed or revised it within the last five years.

Disaster prep guides from the NAIC’s Insure U portal can help consumers determine the best course of action before, during and after a disaster strikes. Visit insurance.utah.gov or insureuonline.org for more information.

Press Release
Take Stock Before Disaster Strikes

After the Shaking Stops

Proper insurance coverage can get you back to normal after an earthquake.

If an earthquake were to hit your hometown tomorrow, what would you do? Odds are that you have a plan of action that would help you survive the shaking and get to stable ground. If you’re a longtime Utahn, you probably have a kit to get you through the following 72 hours. But after those first few days, how do you go about getting back to normal?

“Suffering a loss as a result of an earthquake can be devastating,” said Utah Insurance Commissioner Todd E. Kiser. “But if you have added earthquake coverage to your homeowner’s policy, help will be coming.” Earthquake insurance can help with replacing lost property and the contents that are covered under the policy. Not all policies offer the same coverages, so it is important to work with a licensed insurance agent to find the policy that works best for your situation.

Many people do not realize that earthquakes are generally not covered under a homeowner’s insurance policy. Earthquake insurance is a supplemental policy that covers the damage and destruction that can occur specifically in an earthquake. “I advise anyone who is concerned about the possibility of an earthquake to talk to their insurance agent about adding earthquake coverage,” said Kiser. “It is an extra cost, but it also means extra help if the worst were to happen.”

To practice for the real thing, Utahns across the state can participate in the Great Utah ShakeOut, a mock earthquake drill that will take place on April 20 at 10:15 a.m. The ShakeOut is an annual event that helps Utahns prepare for an earthquake. More than 970,000 Utahns have signed up to participate this year through their employers, schools, government agencies, and other organizations.

“Preparedness is key to surviving an earthquake,” said Kiser. “Earthquake coverage for your property and possessions is another level of preparedness that can help your family recover from a disaster that is becoming more and more certain over time.”

Press Release
After the Shaking Stops

penn treaty liquidation logo

Penn Treaty & American Network Insurance Company News

Penn Treaty Network America Insurance Company and American Network Insurance Company are affiliated long-term care insurance companies that went into liquidation on March 1, 2017. Information about the companies’ liquidation can be found on Penn Treaty’s website, http://www.penntreaty.com/Liquidation.aspx.

The life and health insurance guaranty associations in the states where Penn Treaty and American Network were licensed to do business have assumed responsibility for their policies. This includes continuing coverage and paying eligible claims, subject to guaranty association coverage limits and the terms and conditions of coverage. The guaranty associations have contracted for Penn Treaty to continue to administer all policies using Penn Treaty’s staff, existing computer systems, and policy/claim records.

Contact Information: Policyholders with questions about policies, claims, or related to liquidation should call Policyholder Services at 1-800-362-0700.

2016: A Great Year for Captives in Utah

Recent changes show promise for an even better 2017.

The Utah Captive Insurance Division saw positive growth in 2016. During the past year, 68 new captive companies were formed, as well as a number of additional cells. This brings Utah’s captive industry totals to 462 active captive companies and 74 active cell companies.

In addition to this continued growth, the Utah Captive Division also implemented some new and innovative processes for insurers on captive.utah.gov. New features and upgrades for all online forms and applications were rolled out to further strengthen security, ease of use, and efficiency. “Our hope with these updates and changes has been to make the formation and reporting process as easy and secure as possible for our captives,” said Travis Wegkamp, Captive Insurance Director for Utah. “So far we have had very positive feedback regarding the usability and updates to our online processes.”

The Utah Captive Division expects that 2017 will be another great year. “The 831(b) election resulted in changes that required some adjustment, but ultimately it will provide several improvements and benefits,” said Wegkamp. Some ownership changes have taken place and some business plans have changed to accommodate the adjustments required for the 831(b) election. “We have also submitted a few changes for legislative consideration,” said Wegkamp. “The most notable would be the creation of a specific Certificate of Authority for captive companies formed as a Pool.”

The Utah Captive Division along with the Utah Captive Insurance Association will be hosting the Western Region Captive Insurance Conference (WRCIC) in Salt Lake City this year from May 22-24. To learn more or to register to attend, visit www.westerncaptiveconference.org.

Press Release
2016 : A Great Year for Captives in Utah

FBI Background Check Fee Reduced

Effective October 1, 2016 the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) will implement new fees for the fingerprint-based criminal history checks that occur during the license application process. The fee to obtain an FBI federal background check will be reduced to $12, down from $14.75. This fee is collected during the application process, along with the $20 Bureau of Criminal Identification (BCI) fee.

Should you have any questions about the fingerprint fees or the how to apply for a license, please call the department’s Producer Licensing Division at (801) 538-3855.

New Utah Captive Insurance Director Announced

Salt Lake City, Utah — Utah Insurance Commissioner Todd E. Kiser today announced that Travis Wegkamp has been appointed as the new director of the Captive Division, replacing David J. Snowball, who is retiring this month.

“I am extremely pleased and gratified that the Utah Captive Insurance Division staff has the depth of experience to allow a promotion from within its ranks,” said Commissioner Kiser. “Travis has been an asset to this department for many years, and I am confident that his leadership will maintain the positive trajectory that has been a hallmark of the State’s captive industry.”

Commissioner Kiser praised Snowball’s tenure as director, under whom Utah’s captive industry grew to a total of more than 445 captive companies and 71 captive cells. More importantly, captives in Utah experienced a prolonged period of growth and stability.

Wegkamp joined the Captive Division in 2011 as an audit manager. Over the past five years, he has worked closely with Snowball to develop new and revised captive rules and regulations, and has supervised Captive Division team members and performed financial analyses and examinations. In 2015, Wegkamp was instrumental in the creation of the Captive Division’s suite of online services — the first entirely online captive application system in the country. The system allows applications, documents, and licensing to all be completed, submitted, and managed electronically.

Before joining the Captive Division, Wegkamp spent nearly a decade providing accounting and auditing services to clients in St. George, Utah, and Las Vegas, Nevada. He is a graduate of Southern Utah University, with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in accounting.

“In recent years, we’ve focused heavily on being a leader in developing innovative technological advances to serve our clients and make doing business in Utah a quick and simple process,” said Wegkamp. “Utah’s captive insurance industry has seen some phenomenal growth in the past few years — that’s a tradition I plan to continue.”

Press Release
New Utah Captive Insurance Director Announced

Don’t Leave Earthquake Damage to Chance

Prepare for disaster by checking your insurance coverage now.

Utah’s chances of suffering a devastating earthquake in the next half century come down to the flip of a coin, according to a new study released by the Utah Geological Survey’s Working Group on Earthquake Probabilities.

The study, Earthquake Probabilities for the Wasatch Front Region in Utah, Idaho and Wyoming, revealed a 43 percent chance that a 6.75 magnitude quake will occur along the Wasatch Front in the next 50 years. Smaller quakes are even likelier: there is a 57 percent chance of a 6.0-magnitude quake, and it’s a virtual certainty (93 percent chance) that a 5.0-magnitude quake will happen during the same period.

“The results of this study should be concerning to anyone who owns property along the Wasatch Front,” said Utah Insurance Commissioner Todd E. Kiser. “It is critical that people review their insurance policies to ensure that their homes, vehicles and other property are covered in the event of an earthquake.”

Many people might not realize that earthquakes are generally not covered under a homeowner’s insurance policy. Earthquake insurance is a supplemental policy that covers the damage and destruction that can occur specifically in an earthquake. “I advise anyone who is concerned about the possibility of an earthquake to talk to their insurance agent about adding earthquake coverage,” said Kiser. “It is an extra cost, but it also means extra help if the worst were to happen.”

Utahns across the state can participate in the Great Utah ShakeOut, a mock-earthquake drill that will take place on April 21 at 10:15 AM. The ShakeOut is an annual event that helps Utahns prepare for an earthquake. More than 930,000 Utahns have signed up to participate through their employers, schools, government agencies, and other organizations.

“Preparedness is key to surviving an earthquake,” said Kiser. “Earthquake coverage for your property and possessions is another level of preparedness that can help your family recover from a disaster that is becoming more and more certain over time.”

Press Release
Don’t Leave Earthquake Damage to Chance

Gobeille v. Liberty Mutual

In light of the US Supreme Court’s recent ruling in Gobeille v. Liberty Mutual, the Utah Insurance Department will not enforce, and no person will be required to provide information pursuant to Utah insurance statutes and rules requiring data submissions concerning a self-insured employee welfare benefit plan.

Utah Man Arrested, Charged for Intentional Auto Accidents

Navid Monjazeb faces 22 counts of insurance fraud, reckless endangerment, and other crimes spanning five years and at least 23 known accidents.

On Wednesday, January 20, 2016, charges resulting from a months long investigation conducted by the State of Utah Insurance Fraud Division were filed against Navid Monjazeb through the Utah Attorney General’s Office. Assisting with the investigation were agents with the National Insurance Crime Bureau.

Monjazeb was arrested and booked into the Salt Lake County Jail this morning. Monjazeb was charged with Pattern of Unlawful Activity, a second degree felony; 12 counts of Insurance Fraud, all third degree felonies; 2 counts of Forgery, both third degree felonies; and 7 counts of Reckless Endangerment, all class A misdemeanors.

Between January 5, 2010 through December 22, 2015, Monjazeb, while driving the same three vehicles, was involved in at least 23 auto accidents.

Many of the accidents occurred at the same location with similar circumstances. All accidents occurred in the Salt Lake County area. In nearly all cases, Monjazeb intentionally collided with or placed his vehicle in a position where the accident was a complete certainty.

Monjazeb would aggressively assert that the other driver was at fault and would intimidate them to the point that they would sign prepared statements that they were at fault in the accident. Monjazeb would push the victims for a cash settlement without calling police. When police were called, they placed the victim at fault based on the assertions of Monjazeb.

Monjazeb’s vehicles all had pre-existing damages which he blamed on the accident. The victim vehicles usually had very minimal damage with repairs being paid for out of pocket, while Monjazeb’s vehicles had thousands of dollars in damages paid for by the victim’s insurance company.

Monjazeb collected the insurance money while electing to not have the damage repaired or claiming to have repaired the vehicle himself. Monjazeb exaggerated his damages and provided forged repair documents to increase his payouts from insurance.

Insurance companies paid for the same damages from accident to accident. In total, Monjazeb was paid over $55,000 from insurance carriers alone. It is unknown how many additional accidents may have occurred wherein police and insurance carriers were not contacted and victims paid Monjazeb in cash.

Press Release
Utah Man Arrested, Charged for Intentional Auto Accidents