Court Upholds $500 Million Award Against U.S. Life Insurance Co.

The U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld an arbitration award requiring U.S. Life Insurance Co. to pay reinsurance of more than $500 million to Superior National Insurance Companies, workers’ compensation insurer in liquidation, the California Department of Insurance reported. In a press release, California Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner said that “upholding this award …

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Unfair Insurance Practices Act Can Give Rise To Private Cause Of Action Under UCL

The California Court of Appeal recently addressed the question of whether a violation of the Unfair Insurance Practices Act can give rise to a civil cause of action under the Unfair Competition Law (“UCL”).  The court answered the question in the affirmative.  In Zhang v. Superior Court, 178 Cal. App. 4th 1081 (2009), Plaintiff Zhang …

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The U.S Supreme Court’s Iqbal Opinion to Get Congressional Airing

Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. ___, 129 S. Ct. 1937 (2009), the 5-month-old U.S. Supreme Court decision that has made federal pleadings standards much more stringent, will get a Capitol Hill airing on Tuesday October 27, 2009. The House Judiciary Committee is scheduled to hold the first congressional hearing on the far-reaching May ruling, which …

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House Committee Votes to Strip Health Insurance Industry of Exemption from Federal Antitrust Laws

As reported by the Associated Press, a House committee has voted to strip the health insurance industry of its exemption from federal antitrust laws as senators announced plans to take the same step.  The House Judiciary Committee voted 20 to 9 to repeal a law that exempted the health insurance industry from federal controls over certain …

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Will Healthcare Reform Affect the Rate of Claim Denials?

On Monday October 19, 2009, Lisa Girion of the Los Angeles Times reported on the healthcare reform bills being debated in Congress and their potential impact on claim denials by insurers. Girion states that, “Despite growing frustration with the way health insurers deny medical treatments, major healthcare bills pending in Congress would give patients little …

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Council for Disability Awareness Follows Approvals of Disability Claims by the SSA and Private Disability Insurers

Allison Bell of the National Underwriter reported on September 11, 2009 that approved disability claims rose more quickly in 2008 at the Social Security Disability Insurance program than at private disability insurers. She explained that the Council for Disability Awareness in Portland, Maine reported that findings in a summary of results from an analysis of …

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Health Care Provider Claims Against Employer Not Preempted by ERISA

In Marin General Hospital v. Modesto & Empire Traction Co., 581 F.3d 941 (9th Cir. 2009), the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals held that section 502(a)(1)(B) of ERISA did not completely preempt state-law causes of actions for breach of contract, negligent misrepresentation, quantum meruit and estoppel brought by a hospital against a patient’s employer and …

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