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PIA Legislative Update

In the House Insurance Committee this 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. However, there was quite a bit discussion by committee members about how much of a fee the agent can charge, so we'll need to keep a careful eye on this one. Please be sure to be ready to act when called upon.

Other bills heard this week that we're monitoring and passed include:

HB 233  —   Provides relative to filing requirements for surplus lines insurers.
HB 287  —   Provides for the return of unearned premium and notice of claim payments to the mortgagee.
HB 289  —   Requires risk-bearing entities to provide certain contact information to the commissioner of insurance.
HB 378  —   Provides for exclusion from guaranty fund coverage for a person acquiring rights to receive payments through a "structured settlement factoring transaction."
HB 393  —   Provides for the elimination of contents coverage on residential properties following a declared disaster
HB 480  —   Provides for the approval of independent review organizations.
HB 503  —   Provides relative to the licensing of insurance producers (This one will allow for one single renewal of dual licensed producers)

HB 273, which we're also monitoring was voluntarily deferred and scheduled to be heard next week. This bill provides for the approval by the commissioner of insurance of trade names for insurance producers.

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.

Upcoming PIA Events
04/27/2017 -- Acadiana Crawfsih Boil

05/02/2017 -- CISR Agency Operations (Lafayette, LA)

05/03/2017 -- CISR Personal Lines Misc. (Baton Rouge, LA)

05/03/2017 -- New Orleans Chapter Crawfish Boil

05/04/2017 -- CISR Commercial Property (Kenner, LA)

05/04/2017 -- Baton Rouge Chapter Crawfish Boil

05/09/2017 -- CPIA Update Class
(Kenner, LA)

05/16/2017 -- Acadiana Chapter Meeting

05/16/2017 -- CISR Commercial Casualty I (Shreveport, LA)

05/23/2017 -- CPIA-3
(Opelousas, LA)

Virtual Exhibit Hall

Check out our
Virtual Exhibit Hall

PIA National Proposes Changes to Insurance Advocate

PIA National sent a letter to Jeb Hensarling, Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, expressing concerns about the creation of a new federal office called the Office of the Independent Insurance Advocate within the Treasury Department. PIA specifically requests changes in the bill to scale back the power of this new office.

A section of the Financial Creating Hope and Opportunity for Investors, Consumers, and Entrepreneurs (CHOICE) Act merges the Federal Insurance Office (FIO) with the independent member with insurance expertise on the Financial Stability Oversight Council to create the Office of Independent Insurance Advocate.

The director of the new office would be a Senate-confirmed presidential appointee with a six-year term. The new office would have its own budget and would be able to hire its own employees, including attorneys, analysts, and economists. Although housed in the Treasury Department, the bill has language prohibiting the Secretary of the Treasury from taking action to "delay or prevent the issuance of any rule or the promulgation of any regulation by the Independent Insurance Advocate," and prohibiting the Treasury Secretary from intervening "in any matter." This language seems to prevent the Treasury Secretary from exercising any authority whatsoever over any regulations that the Independent Insurance Advocate decides to promulgate, or any other actions the Advocate takes.

PIA is advocating for the repeal of the FIO without replacement. We are currently the only national association publicly advocating against the creation of this new insurance office.

The new version of Financial CHOICE Act is expected to be released sometime this month.

ACA Struggles for Stability

Over the coming few weeks, health insurers will start to declare whether they will participate in Affordable Care Act (ACA) markets. Colorado Insurance Commissioner Marguerite Salazar says her state's carriers have not said they are leaving, but also do not want to commit. Washington State Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler pushed back by a month the date when insurers in his state must say what they will offer. "They've got those cards and they're holding them close," says Kreidler. "Right now, there's so much uncertainty."

Things look better in some states. Maryland Insurance Commissioner Al Redmer, Jr., says he hopes one company will re-join his state's exchange, while Nevada is attempting to convince Aetna and Centene to enter the state's ACA market. "I'm cautiously optimistic that we won't see a deterioration, and hopefully we'll have one more," says Redmer.

Much of the uncertainty is thanks to the Trump administration, which will play a key role in deciding whether the health law''s markets collapse or survive. Trump's latest threat has been to stop payments that subsidize co-pays and other upfront costs for lower-income people. Without them, insurers would likely boost their premiums or drop out entirely. The administration has refused to commit to keeping the payments going.

Seeking Innovative Marketers for the
PIA Agency Marketing Guide

Do you have a successful method for finding new prospects or rounding accounts? Maybe you have implemented a producer onboarding system or sales program that works really well for your agency. If so, PIA would like to speak with you about possibly being featured in the 2017 PIA Agency Marketing Guide.

This is your opportunity to share your knowledge with your fellow PIA members, as so many of your peers have done in previous editions of the PIA Agency Marketing Guide.

Featured PIA members can write their own articles or, if they prefer, speak with a PIA staff member who can write an article about their marketing efforts.

If this interests you, please contact Alexi Papandon at 703-518-1353 or alexipa@pianet.org.

Lost Policies? Check out the
NAIC Life Insurance Policy Locator

The key to finding something that is lost is to look for it. In its first six months, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners' (NAIC) Life Insurance Policy Locator tool has matched nearly 1,800 beneficiaries with lost or misplaced life insurance policies or annuities. As of April 1, more than $17 million has been returned to consumers.

The strong results emphasize the importance of the locator to consumers, said NAIC President and Wisconsin Insurance Commissioner Ted Nickel. "We expect these numbers to grow as more consumers learn about this tool," he said. Since it was launched in November, the tool has generated 15,333 requests. To date, nearly 25 regulatory actions have resulted in returning more than $7.3 billion life insurance proceeds to U.S. consumers.

Thanks to Our 2017 PIA Partners:

American Strategic Insurance (ASI)

Capital Premium Financing

LUBA Workers' Comp

Markel FirstComp

Prime Rate Premium Finance Corporation

SageSure Insurance Managers, LLC

Stonetrust Commercial Ins. Co.