Following is a listing of executive and legislative action for the week of November 19.Members of the General Assembly are set to return to session January 1, 2013.
The Pennsylvania Insurance Department has announced the conclusion ofa multistate settlement agreement on the re-examination of Bankers Life andCasualty Co. The state is set to receive a share of the $3.2 million penalty leviedagainst the insurance company.
“Consumer protection and ensuring insurance company compliance is a regulator’sprimary responsibility,” Pennsylvania Insurance Commissioner MichaelConsedine said in a statement. “Our re-examination determined that Bankers failedto comply with a number of recommendations from a prior exam report.”
The department said Bankers, based in Illinois, was re-examined as a followupto a 2007 regulatory review. The review revealed concerns the company failedto sufficiently check changes to applications, inappropriately denied maximumbenefit claims and failed to conduct timely claims investigations and claims settlements.
These issues of noncompliance related to the annuities, long-term care andlife insurance lines of business.
Under the settlement, Bankers is required to pay $3.2 million to be sharedamong the states that participated in the settlement. In addition to Pennsylvania,other lead states conducting the regulatory review included Illinois, Indiana,Florida and Texas.
Pennsylvania added 7,500 jobs in October, bringing the state’s jobs count to atotal of 5,752,200, the highest level since November 2008, according to figuresfrom the state Department of Labor and Industry.
The number of jobs added to the Pennsylvania economy in the private sectorsince January 2011 increased to 105,700.
The October job growth was concentrated in service-providing industries, whichincreased by 7,100 to a record high of 4,929,800. Service-providing industries includebusinesses such as retail stores, banks, hospitals and restaurants. The largestincrease in service industries in October was a gain of 4,000 education and healthservices jobs, followed closely by an increase of 3,700 in trade, transportation andutilities.
Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate was 8.1 percent in October, down from theSeptember rate of 8.2 percent, the department reported.
In an opinion issued November 14, U.S. District Senior Judge Sylvia H. Ramboof the Middle District of Pennsylvania held that Pennsylvania’s rules covering horseracing violate federal law by not allowing trainers to immediately challenge theirejection from a track.
The case, Moreno v. Penn National Gaming, involved trainer Tito Moreno, whoargued that he was ejected from Penn National race track last August with nochance for appeal.
Rambo overturned Moreno’s ejection, citing the constitutional shortcoming ofthe state regulations.
“In short, 58 Pa. Code §165.231 only requires that a promptly scheduled hearingbe held at some undefined point in the future,” Rambo said. “In practice, the hearingcould take place long after significant harm is incurred by an ejectee, unlessthe ejectee has the wherewithal and resources to apply for a temporary restrainingorder and preliminary injunction in federal court.”
The ruling has prompted the Horse Racing Commission to review all its rules,according to a spokesperson for the commission.