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Legislative Update

In the Senate Insurance Committee last week, HB 407 by Rep. Huval, passed. Jointly with IIABL, HAFA, NAIFA and LAHU, PIA worked with Rep. Huval to draft HB 407 to correct an unintended consequence of Act 283, which we believe allowed producers to charge a fee for both individual as well as group health insurance policies. However, the DOI disagreed with this interpretation, so we have jointly worked to clean this language up to ensure our producers are rightly paid for selling group and individual policies. During the House Insurance Committee hearing, there was quite a bit discussion by committee members about how much of a fee the agent can charge, so the following amendment was added (#1626 & #1750), which requires a written notice of the fee be issued and signed by the insured. It is now expected to go to the full Senate this week for passage.

Coming up this week in Senate Insurance Committee (Wednesday, May 17 at 9:30 a.m.):

HB 6, which exempts Louisiana residents from the assessment of penalties for noncompliance with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

HB 89, which allows employees of insurance companies that are not licensed claims adjusters to adjust certain losses that do not exceed $500.

HB 165, which provides for identification of dental benefit plan coverage.

HB 188, which provides for review of fees charged for external review.

HB 392, which prohibits insurers from combining a higher classified public fire protection area with a lower classified public fire protection area for the purpose of determining insurance rates for both districts.

HB 408, which provides for the change of insurance producer on record. PIA Supports.

HB 542, which provides for travel insurance.

Coming up in House Insurance Committee this week (Thursday, May 18 at 9:30 a.m.):

HB 664, which provides relative to the insurance premium tax credit.

SB 44, which provides relative to the sale of policies issued by the Louisiana Citizens Property Insurance Corporation. PIA Supports.

SB 45, which provides relative to the definition of ocean marine insurance.

SB 184, which provides for the removal of an offset or credit against uninsured motorist coverage when the carrier is insolvent.

To see a full list of the bills PIA is monitoring this legislative session, please click here. If you have any questions about any of the bills, please contact Jody Boudreaux or Natalie Cooper.

Click here for a recap of the full Session from our Lobbying Team at Adams & Reese.

Upcoming PIA Events
06/06/2017 -- CISR Commercial Casualty II (Shreveport, LA)

06/06/2017 -- Northeast Chapter Meeting

06/06/2017 -- North Shore Chapter Meeting

06/07/2017 -- Northwest Chapter Meeting

06/07/2017 -- CISR William T Hold (Lafayette, LA)

06/08/2017 -- CISR Personal Auto (Baton Rouge, LA)

06/08/2017 -- North Shore Chapter Poker Run, CE and Captain's Party

06/09/2017 -- CISR Elements of Risk (Kenner, LA)

06/14/2017 -- Baton Rouge Chapter Meeting

07/12/2017 -- New Orleans Chapter Meeting

Virtual Exhibit Hall

Check out our
Virtual Exhibit Hall

Commissioner Donelon Extends Protections
for Policyholders Impacted by August Flooding

Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon is announcing the issuance of an Emergency Rule which extends protections for policyholders impacted by the August flooding. The action taken by Commissioner Donelon was authorized by Governor John Bel Edwards' Executive Order 2017-11 granting the Commissioner temporary authority to suspend certain regulatory provisions of the insurance code.

"Emergency Rule 33 provides some essential consumer protections for insured individuals and business owners in our state who have been repairing and rebuilding in the aftermath of the August flood," said Commissioner Donelon. "This rule comes on the heels of FEMA's decision to grant my request for an extension to the National Flood Insurance Program Proof of Loss deadline until September 1. The emergency rule and NFIP extension will provide policyholders with some much-needed flexibility in the recovery process."

Emergency Rule 33 continues the provisions of previously issued Emergency Rules 28, 30 and 32 which suspend the ability of insurers to cancel or terminate policies due to the inability of policyholders in federal declared disaster areas to comply with certain policy provisions during the state of emergency. For example, some policies might require habitation or occupancy of dwellings or similar provisions that are not reasonably feasible to comply with following the catastrophic flooding.


A Contradiction in the CHOICE Act

The Financial CHOICE Act is a deregulation bill—except when it comes to insurance. Then, it creates the framework for the kind of federal regulatory bureaucracy that it purports to tame.

Rather than getting rid of the Federal Insurance Office (FIO), something that was never needed, the Financial CHOICE Act inexplicably doubles down, folding the FIO into a more-powerful Office of the Independent Insurance Advocate, which will have much greater authority and will not be accountable to anyone.

PIA's Vice President of Government Relations Jon Gentile has written an op-ed which appears in PC360, outlining PIA's reasons for opposing creation of the Office of the Independent Insurance Advocate. Read Jon's article here.

"If one were to draft a proposal to extend the reach of the federal government over the insurance industry, this provision of the CHOICE Act would fit the bill," says Gentile. "Fortunately, there is still time for lawmakers who believe in reducing, rather than greatly increasing, federal regulation to consign both the existing Federal Insurance Office and the prospective Office of Independent Insurance Advocate to the nearest trash can."

J.D. Power: As Auto Insurance Sales Slow,
Carriers Turn to Agents

Amid a second straight year of stagnant auto insurance shopping activity and modest rate increases, auto insurance companies have grown increasingly reliant on great customer service, personalized advice and strong agents to win over their customers. That's according to the J.D. Power 2017 U.S. Insurance Shopping Study.

With average premiums increasing by a modest 2-3% annually, new insurance shopping rates flat and new customer acquisition rates unchanged, auto insurers are faced with the challenge of resisting commoditization. The study finds that as auto insurers struggle to compete on price, they are being forced to differentiate based on factors such as brand reputation, agent recommendations, product and service to drive new business sales.

The study finds that agents continue to play a key role. Agent recommendations have become an increasingly important driver of customer consideration and quote generation. Shoppers are also increasingly reliant on agent recommendations when considering and quoting insurers, compared to 2015 (a 9- and 10-percentage point increase, respectively). Read more about the J.D. Power study here.

Improve Your Agency Leadership Skills— A Free
Webinar for PIA Members

Have you ever considered the impact that soft skills can have on effective leadership? Most leaders understand that it takes more than technical knowledge and product expertise to successfully develop and lead a team.

How do you balance soft skills with the also-important focus on bottom-line results? What are soft skills and where do you find them? Recognizing the importance of soft skills in successful leadership is instrumental in your growth as leader.

Whether you're a new manager or you've been leading for years, please join PIA and our partner The Omnia Group on May 17 for a free, PIA member webinar to help you strengthen your soft skills.

Learn more and register for the May 17 webinar.

The 2017 PIA/Omnia Webinar Series

This year PIA members can attend a variety of member-only webinars like the one above—produced for those in customer service, sales, HR and leadership roles. Most are free to PIA members.

This quarter we are focusing on Agency Leadership with these three webinars:
  • May 17: How Soft Skills Affect Leadership
  • June 21: Cash, Kudos, or Pizza... What Motivates Your Staff?
  • July 19: Move Your Mission Forward with Succession Planning
Our September-November webinars will focus on Human Resources.

View the full schedule of webinars at http://www.omniagroup.com/pia-webinar-registration/.

Thanks to Our 2017 PIA Partners:

American Strategic Insurance (ASI)

Capital Premium Financing

LUBA Workers' Comp

Markel FirstComp

SageSure Insurance Managers, LLC

Stonetrust Commercial Ins. Co.