Press Release 2006-04 New Title Insurance Resources Available from the Arizona Department of Insurance

NEW AGENCY


Arizona Department of Insurance
100 North 15th Avenue, Suite 261

Phoenix, AZ  85007-2630


Starting July 1, 2020, we became the
Department of Insurance and Financial Institutions (DIFI).


Media Contact: Erin H. Klug Public Information Officer (602) 364-3471

For Immediate Release June 29 2006

The Arizona Department of Insurance (ADOI) has new tools available to assist home buyers shopping for title insurance. Title insurance is one of the least understood types of insurance and frequently consumers don’t give much thought to title insurance until they close on the purchase of a home.  To assist Arizona home buyers in making informed choices regarding title insurance, ADOI recently compiled a variety of resources and added new information to its website.

Chief among the Department’s new title insurance resources is a pamphlet entitled, “Answers to Your Questions About Title Insurance.” The pamphlet explains the purpose of title insurance in basic terms, emphasizing that title insurance protects against any losses which might infringe upon the buyer’s ownership interest in the property.  In order to verify the seller’s right to transfer property ownership, title insurers research public property records (such as deeds, court records, and property and name indexes) and identify all title defects, encumbrances and restrictions (judgments, liens, unpaid taxes, unsatisfied mortgages, judgments against the seller, and land use restrictions).

“It is not only beneficial, but it is your right, to compare premiums and services of various title insurers while shopping for your new home,” said Christina Urias, Insurance Director. “Many consumers do not realize that, by law, realtors cannot dictate which title insurer or title agency home buyers must use.  Consumers should shop around for title insurance because  rates  vary  between  companies  and  competing  title  insurers  offer  different services, costs and fees for title services.”

Nationally and in Arizona, insurance regulators have negotiated settlements with several title insurers for allegedly improper practices in the sale of title insurance.   Seeking consumer  refunds  when  feasible,  the  Director  also  recognized  that  title  insurance education will help empower consumers as home buyers. Consequently, one of the outcomes of ADOI’s settlement with the LandAmerica title companies required Land America to fund the publication of consumer education title insurance materials.

ADOI developed these new title insurance resources to educate and encourage informed comparison shopping for title insurance. In addition to the new pamphlet (now available in hard copy and on the website), the following title insurance resources are also available on the ADOI website (http://www.id.state.az.us/consumerautohome.html#titleresource):

  •  List of licensed Arizona title insurance
  • Tips for shopping for title insurance
  • Search features to verify Arizona licensure of title insurers and title agencies.
  • Links to other title related resources, including the Department of Financial Institutions, the Department of Real Estate, and the American Land Title Association.

To obtain a free copy of the new title insurance pamphlet consumers can contact: Arizona Department of Insurance

2910 N. 44th Street, 2nd Floor, Phoenix, AZ 85018

(800) 325-2548 or (602) 364-2499 or consumer[email protected]

www.id.state.az.us

Period: 
2006
Priority: 
04
Insurers Offering Individual Health Insurance in Arizona

Lists insurance companies that are offering health insurance to individuals and families in Arizona in 2020.  Open enrollment starts November 1st and now runs through December 17th, 2019.  Individuals can start shopping for coverage now at healthcare.gov or cuidadodesalud.gov (Spanish)

Notice of Proposed Rulemaking - Corporate Governance Annual Disclosure Model Regulation In 2019, the Arizona Legislature adopted the NAIC Corporate Governance Annual Disclosure Model Act at Arizona Revised Statutes (“ARS”) by enacting the Corporate Governance Act at Title 20, Chapter 2, Article 16 (Laws 2019, 1st Reg. Sess., Ch. 180, § 1).   The Department of Insurance (“Department”) seeks to adopt the correlate Corporate Governance Annual Disclosure Model Regulation.  ARS § 20-492.02 allows the Department to adopt rules to carry out the Act upon notice and an opportunity to be heard.  The Legislature has exempted the Department from Title 41, Chapter 6 for one year after the effective date of the Act.  (Laws 2019, 1st Reg. Sess., Ch. 180, § 2.)
Arizona's Surprise Bill Resolution Report for 2019

As shown in the attached report prepared pursuant to A.R.S. § 20-3118(A), the Department of Insurance received 91 requests for dispute resolution in Calendar Year 2019.  Of those, 53 have been resolved or closed, and health plan enrollees saved $41,538 by submitting their surprise bills for resolution.  

Not all health care bills qualify for the surprise bill resolution process.  The Department's Suprise Out-of-network Billing Dispute Resolution website (https://insurance.az.gov/soonbdr, and especially the section entitled, "I got a surprise bill. Can I submit a request for arbitration?") lists conditions when a health care bill may not qualify under Arizona law for the dispute resolution process.  But for those that do, the enrollee will only be responsible for paying the enrollee's cost-sharing amounts (copay, coinsurance and deductible) if the enrollee provides information the Department needs, and participates in an informal settlement teleconference with the health care insurer and the health care provider.

Fire Readiness and Your Insurance Coverage

Complete three steps to be prepared

STEP ONE: Inventory your contents. 
Making a record of what you have provides two major benefits.  First, it could help you estimate the cost of replacing your contents, which you could use to make sure you have enough insurance coverage.  Second, it will help you identify missing or destroyed items if you need to file an insurance claim. Keep your inventory records in a safe place outside your home, such as a safe deposit box at a bank, or in a secure online location. 

  • The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) has a free app called, “MyHome Scr.APP.book,” available from Google Play and from the Apple App Store, which can help you keep track of your personal property. 
  • The Insurance Information Institute provides advice that can make creating a home inventory easier (https://www.iii.org/article/how-create-home-inventory).

STEP TWO: Understand what your homeowners’ insurance policy covers.
If you do not have your policy on hand, get a copy from your insurance company or insurance agent. Then, make sure your policy provides enough coverage for your dwelling, contents and additional living expenses.

  • Dwelling Coverage:  This pays to reconstruct your home, from ground up if necessary.  It does not include the cost of the land on which your home sits because you will still have that, but it should include the cost to remove a destroyed structure and replace it a home that is similar to what you had prior to the fire.
  • Contents Coverage:  This pays to repair or replace your personal belongings. Your policy may provide contents coverage based on a set percentage of your dwelling coverage, but you can pay for more contents coverage if you think you need it. 
    • Check to see if your coverage will pay “actual cash value” or “replacement cost.”  Actual cash value (ACV) means what an item was worth when it was destroyed based on its initial cost minus depreciation or loss in value due to its age, condition and wear-and-tear.  Replacement cost (RC) means the cost to replace or repair damaged or destroyed property with materials of “like kind and quality”. Claims for damaged or destroyed items will initially be paid based on the ACV of the item.  When the item is replaced, a copy of the receipt must be provided to the insurance company to obtain payment of the balance owed.  Many policies require the damaged items to be replaced within six (6) months.
    • If you have expensive items, such as artwork, jewelry or computers, you can purchase or increase “scheduled” property coverage to make sure you have sufficient coverage for those items.
  • Additional Living Expense (a.k.a. Loss of Use) Coverage. This pays additional costs you may resulting from the property damage.  For example, if you are not able to live in your home, your policy may cover the costs of lodging and food, boarding your pets, etc.

Importantly, insurance policies are often lengthy, detailed documents.  Do not hesitate to contact your agent or insurance company representative if you have any questions. 

STEP THREE: Minimize your fire risk.
Periodically inspect your home for overloaded power strips, damaged electrical cords or other potential fire hazards.  Keep vegetation and combustible materials away from your home.  If you are in an area that is at higher risk for wildfire, follow “Avoiding Wildfire Damage” guidelines published by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (https://www.fema.gov/pdf/hazard/wildfire/wdfrdam.pdf). 

Remain organized and keep good records

If you are the victim of a fire, remaining organized after an event can be difficult, but it is essential so that you can receive the benefits that your insurance coverage provides.

  • Keep all receipts for living expenses (housing, food, etc.) and for all items that you replace or repair.  Insurance companies may require that you submit original receipts. You should either copy, scan or take clear photos of receipts to provide yourself a backup. 
  • Take photos of your property and the damage.
  • Keep records of all your conversations, emails and letters about your claim with your insurance company and agent.  Take notes of conversations, documenting who you talked to, when you talked to them and what you were told. When possible, send an e-mail message to the person with whom you had the conversation to confirm your understanding of what you were told.
  • Do not throw away or destroy damaged property until your insurer inspects the property and tells you in writing/e-mail that you can do so.
  • Take an inventory of the damaged contents.  If you have an inventory from before the fire, use it to help identify items that were damaged/destroyed. 
  • When the insurer inspects the damage, do a complete walkthrough of your property and point out any issues or concerns you have.
  • When beginning the repair process, get multiple repair estimates from licensed contractors (look up records on the Arizona Registrar of Contractors “Contractor Search” page at https://roc.az.gov/contractor-search) with good reputations (look up records on the Better Business Bureau website at https://www.bbb.org).
  • Don’t delay.  Insurance policies generally have restrictions on how long after a fire you can file claims.

Persons with disabilities may request materials in an alternative format by contacting our Americans with Disabilities Act Coordinator at (602) 364-0108. 

Regulatory Bulletin 2020-02

Implementation of Executive Order 2020‐07 Proactive Measures to Protect Against COVID‐19 and Executive Order 2020‐15 Expansion of Telemedicine.

Regulatory Bulletin 2020-03

Complying with Regulatory Requirements during the Public Health Emergency

Regulatory Bulletin 2020-04

COVID-19 and Insurance Customer Relief; Flexibility

Regulatory Bulletin 2020-01

Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage Offer Form; SB1087