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Louisiana Tells United HealthCare it Must Pay Insurance Producer Commissions.

Louisiana Tells United HealthCare it Must Pay Insurance Producer Commissions

Louisiana Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon says United HealthCare Services Inc. and/or UnitedHealthcare Insurance Co., its subsidiaries and affiliates can't quit paying producer commissions on renewals of certain group health insurance products.

Donelon issued a cease and desist order to United, "to stop all efforts to implement such policy and to revise all applicable schedules of commissions and relevant rate and form filings to appropriately reflect the full commission payment required by law," the commissioner stated in a Louisiana Department of Insurance announcement.

LDI was contacted in May by numerous producers who said they had been notified that United intended to implement a zero-dollar schedule of commissions applicable to all policies sold to groups of greater than 100 insureds with an effective date on or after Sept. 1, 2019. Producers were encouraged to negotiate a "replacement" agency fee to be paid by the insured to the producer.

Donelon said United's intentions were contrary to provisions of the Louisiana Insurance Code, which provide:

* An insurer that maintains a schedule of commission providing for a zero-dollar commission violates both its obligation to remunerate producers for selling its products and the statutory requirement to maintain one or more schedules of payable commission.

* A schedule of commission with zero-dollar or minimal commission payment provides strong evidence that the insurer is impermissibly attempting to reclassify what is properly and mandatorily a commission as another form of payment. This behavior is a clear violation of R.S. 22:855(A)(1)'s requirement that the commission be included in the premium and may additionally violate the insurer's obligation to pay tax on its annual premiums under R.S. 22:842, the prohibition on the payment of commissions to a non-licensed entity under R.S. 22:1557, the requirement that all payable commissions be reflected on the schedule of commission maintained pursuant to R.S. 22:1568 and that commissions be uniformly applied to all producers.

* Simply reclassifying what is properly a commission to a fee does not actually convert the commission into another vehicle or relieve the insurer of its obligation to reflect the commission in its schedule or include it in its premium rate.

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Publication:Insurance Journal
Geographic Code:1U7LA
Date:Jun 17, 2019
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