Thursday, August 19, 2010

Job opening: Senior Policy Analyst

We're trying to fill a critical vacancy in our policy and legislative affairs division: A senior policy analyst with an expertise in property and casualty insurance. From the job announcement:
This position has lead responsibility for policy related research and analysis in support of the development of OIC legislative proposals and the OIC analysis of proposed legislation involving property and casualty insurance (and related) statutes. It assists the OIC legislative liaison and other OIC staff as requested, including completing bill analyses, fiscal notes, drafting comments or testimony, developing legislative proposals, and serving as the primary policy division resource on property and casualty insurance and markets. The position also serves as the Commissioner's delegate on boards, task force, work groups or other organizations as requested by the Commissioner.

The closing date is Sept. 16, 2010 at 4:59 p.m. For more information -- salary, qualifications, how to apply, etc. -- click on the above link.

Washington state's smoking rate drops to third lowest in America

The Washington state Department of Health says that new survey results show that the state's adult smoking rate is now third lowest in the nation: 14.8 percent.

Here's their press release.

To add our two cents' worth: Smoking can significantly drive up health (and life) insurance rates. For example, look at these rates for an individual plan with Premera Blue Cross. (And note that the older you get, the larger the difference between smoker- and non-smoker rates.)

July: 432 complaint files opened and $690,000 recovered for consumers

Our telephone hotline (1-800-562-6900) fielded nearly 12,000 calls last month.

We try to help people with insurance problems, and they bring us a wide range of issues: people unable to find affordable health coverage, people arguing with their insurers over denied or delayed claims, people looking for advise in dealing with storm damage, etc.

And if you call, rest assured that we won't try to sell you anything. We're the state insurance regulatory agency for Washington state. (Not in Washington? See here for contact info in your own state.)
Among the calls last month:

-We helped resolve a problem with an insurer -- the issue was whether the person's previous insurance qualified as "creditable coverage," meaning that pre-existing conditions would be covered -- resulting in the payment of $51,190 in claims.

-We helped a student get $900 for visits to her doctor's office. The claims had initially been denied under her student plan.

-We helped one person get a premium refund on a life insurance contract ($2,482) and another resolve delays in getting an annuity surrender request honored, resulting in a $254,448 payment to the consumer.

-And we helped a woman recoup a $261 life insurance premium that the company took from her father's bank account -- after his death.

That's just a sampling. There were many others: delayed auto insurance claims, trying to resolve disputed damage amounts for homeowner's claims, helping fix billing errors, etc.

Need help? Give us a call or e-mail us at AskMike@oic.wa.gov.