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ProSight Specialty Insurance has scaled back plans to further expand its presence in Santa Rosa but will still maintain an office in the area, a spokesman for the company said.

Last August, ProSight, which was founded by former Fireman’s Fund Insurance Co. top executive Joseph Beneducci in early 2010, signed a five-year lease for 15,400 square feet of office space at the Fountaingrove Executive Center. The company had said it expected to hire an additional 150 employees.

“We will maintain a presence in Santa Rosa but don’t have any immediate plans to expand the office at this point,” said ProSight spokesman Darryl Siry.

Mr. Siry did not provide any specifics as to why the expansion was put on hold, or how many employees currently occupy the office at Fountaingrove, except to say it’s “a small office.”

ProSight, a specialty property and casualty carrier, started with seven employees in a 4,000-square-foot office owned by Basin Street Properties near the Sonoma County airport, Basin Street Vice President Scott Stranzl told the Business Journal last November.

In addition to Santa Rosa, ProSight has locations in New York City, New Jersey and Glendale, Calif., Mr. Siry said.

The company, backed by TPB Capital and GS Capital Partners, acquired NYMagic, a specialty property and casualty insurer for the marine industry, for $230 million last November. In September, ProSight acquired London-based Lloyd’s Coverholder TSM Agencies and 100 percent of the capacity rights to Lloyd’s Syndicate 1110 for an undisclosed sum.

The acquisition will enable Prosight to expand its international presence while adding engineering and power expertise to its underwriting capabilities, the company said. ProSight has over $1 billion in assets.***

     While ProSight may not be expanding in Santa Rosa, it did enter into a partnership with Petaluma-based Tangram Insurance Services to offer a workers compensation program for the social services and nonprofit sectors.

     The partnership, announced by Tangram, will help grow the program nationwide, said John Shea, Tangram’s senior vice president and chief underwriting officer.

     “Tangram is proud to team up with a dedicated partner like ProSight, and looks forward to a long term relationship serving nonprofits together,” Mr. Shea said. Tangram has been offering workers comp packages to nonprofits for about 10 years

     Tangram is a full service managing general underwriter and alternative risk program manager. It specializes in the development and management of both traditional and alternative risk programs for groups and individual risks.

     “Tangram is the ideal partner for ProSight for this market,” said Joseph Finnegan, Prosight’s western region president.***

     Last week, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced grants from the Affordable Care Act of $109 million to 28 states that “will help fight unreasonable premium increases.”

     California will collect $4.3 million of that total, which will be shared between the state’s Department of Insurance and the Department of Managed Care.

     The Affordable Care Act requires health insurers seeking to increase their rates by 10 percent or more in the individual and small group market to submit their requests to experts to determine whether the rates are “unreasonable,” according to HHS. The health overhaul in 2010 also requires insurance companies to “publicly justify unreasonable premium increases.”

     The recent grants come in addition to $48 million that was awarded previously to 42 states and Washington, D.C. in Health Insurance Rate Review Grants. All told, the act provides states with $250 million for such rate reviews, according the HHS.

     “States continue to have the primary responsibility for reviewing insurance rates and these grants give them more resources to hold insurance companies accountable,” Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in announcing the grants.

     The act also requires insurers to generally meet a medical loss ratio standard to spend 80 percent of premium dollars on health care as opposed to overhead, advertising and executive pay. Insurers that fail to meet the ratio will be required to either reduce their premiums or pay rebates to consumers and employers, according to HHS.***

     Meanwhile on the state level, California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones, D-Sacramento, praised the passage of Senate Bill 51, which would incorporate the federal medical loss ratios in the Affordable Care Act. The bill passed the Assembly and Senate on Sept. 9, clearing the Senate on a party-line vote of 24 to 14. It awaits Gov. Jerry Brown’s signature for final passage.

     Commissioner Jones is also in support of A.B. 52, which would give the state the authority to reject excessive rate increases on health insurance.

     Another bill, SB 621, cleared the Legislature that was sponsored by the Department of Insurance. The bill would prohibit disability insurance policies from containing a discretionary clause that give an insurer the authority to decide whether someone is eligible for benefits coverage. The insurance commissioner has the authority to challenge such clauses on a case-by-case basis, but they are not explicitly banned under state law.•••Submit items for this column to Dan Verel at dverel@busjrnl.com, 707-521-4257 or fax 707-521-5292.