Press Release 2011-03 “InHouse Home Warranty” Unauthorized Home Warranty Company Ordered to Cease & Desist

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 Klug Public Information Officer 602.364.3471 or [email protected]

For Immediate Release December 16, 2011

Consumers urged to verify licensure before purchase

InHouse Home Warranty, Inc. (“InHouse”) was a service company that sold home warranties through real estate agents, on-line and by phone. Its owner is Brock Kuchynka (“Kuchynka”) and its office was located at 9035 E. Pima Center Parkway, Suite 9, Scottsdale, AZ 85258.

On February 25, 2009, the Arizona Department of Insurance (“Department”) issued an Order Summarily Suspending the service company permit of InHouse prohibiting it from issuing new home warranties and renewing existing contracts. In addition, InHouse did not renew its Service Contract permit on December 31, 2009 so it was unauthorized, not just suspended, after that date.

Regrettably, InHouse and Kuchynka continued to collect payment for and issue new home warranty contracts, and take payments for and renew existing contracts, long after they lost the legal authority to do so. In fact, one consumer reported that InHouse collected payment for a new contract as recently as November 3, 2011 -- weeks after Kuchynka had closed up the office and let the employees go.

In October, the Department began receiving calls and complaints about InHouse not responding to clients’ requests for service or answering their phones. Upon investigation, it became clear that Kuchynka continued to operate InHouse after its permit had been suspended and eventually expired. On December 2, 2011, the Department ordered InHouse and Kuchynka to cease and desist marketing, issuing or collecting payment for any warranty service contracts through any means, including the Internet.

In addition, the Department ordered InHouse and Kuchynka to pay all valid claims arising out of acts covered by any and all warranty service contracts held by Arizona residents. Arizona law states that any service contract issued in violation of Arizona insurance law is a valid and enforceable contract. Arizonans who purchased a home warranty contract from InHouse and who have unpaid claims for services eligible for payment under their contract, should seek reimbursement from InHouse and Kuchynka directly, and/or pursue their claim in small claims court. In addition to pursuing individual legal remedies, InHouse customers who purchased a contract after February 2009 can report unpaid claims to the Department to assist in other possible action.

Home warranty service companies must have a permit from the Department in order to sell or issue home warranty service contracts in Arizona. In addition, the contracts must be filed with and approved by the Department prior to being sold in Arizona. The law defines these contracts as covering “service relating to the maintenance or repair, including replacement, of a consumer product, or all or any part of the structural components, the appliances or the electrical, plumbing, heating, cooling or air conditioning systems of residential property.” Before purchasing a home warranty service contract, Arizona consumers should contact the Department to verify that companies have the necessary permit to operate:

Arizona Department of Insurance
2910 N. 44th Street, Ste. 210, Phoenix, AZ 85018
602-364-2499 or 800-325-2548 (outside Phoenix)
[email protected] https://insurance.az.gov

 

Period: 
2011
Priority: 
03
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. 

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