LEG REG REVIEW is a periodic newsletter produced by PHILLIPS ASSOCIATES, a professional lobbying and consultant firm located near the State Capitol. It contains news on the legislative and regulatory scene in Pennsylvania that may be of interest to the Insurance and Business Communities. It is a free member benefit for those who are members of the Pennsylvania Association of Health Underwriters (PAHU) or Manufacturers Association of South Central PA (MASCPA). Subscription information may be obtained by contacting PHILLIPS ASSOCIATES at 717/728-1217 FAX 717/728-1164 or e-mail to email@example.com. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org supplying both your name and e-mail address if you wish to be removed from this list.
FALL SESSION DAYS ANNOUNCED
Here is the latest voting session schedule days for the Senate and House.
September 19, 20, 21, 26, 27, 28
October 17, 18, 19, 24, 25, 26, 31
November 1, 14, 15, 16
December 5, 6, 7, 12, 13, 14
September 26, 27, 28
October 3, 4, 5, 17, 18, 19, 24, 25, 26, 31
November 1, 2, 14, 15, 16, 21, 22, 23
December 5, 6, 7, 12, 13, 14
THIRD EXCHANGE FORUM COMPLETED
August 23 in Harrisburg marked the last of three Forums organized by the PA Insurance Department to hear stakeholders discuss what the Exchanges and Navigators should do and how they should be structured. As in the first two Forums, opinions varied. To some in Harrisburg the issue was coverage (children, autism). To others it was access. Some presenters spoke of the difficulty rural areas face generally and specifically in the absence of adequate computer connectivity necessary to one vision of the Exchange as an Internet Travelocity tool. Another rural health advocate said that PID should prevent Exchanges from just covering an urban market to the exclusion of rural areas. One presenter said that agents were absolutely unnecessary if PA establishes comprehensive service centers. Insurance agents talked about the services that they provide which assist consumers and small businesses understand insurance choices and assistance re the claims process. PAHU had several testifiers which made the point that Act 147’s legal definitions of “sell, solicit or negotiate” insurance means that Navigators which do those things must be licensed. Also presented was the agents’ view that allowing consumers to bypass agents was tantamount to treating them as second-class citizens without the consumer protections that the Insurance Department provides re proper marketing standards.
The hearing was marked by an earthquake and observation by the following presenter that the Forum was indeed an earthmoving experience. The Department will review testimony from all three Forums along with a KPMG consultants’ report due September 29 as the Corbett Administration decides whether or not to create state Exchanges.
There are two updates on the Senate Banking & Insurance Committee September hearings on the Highmark/UPMC contract dispute. First is a location change for the September 13 hearing to University of Pittsburgh William Pitt Union. Second is another hearing set for September 22 in Erie, location to be determined.
HIGHMARK/UPMC HEARING HELD
An August 25 House Insurance Committee hearing in Pittsburgh on the Highmark and UPMC dispute enabled both to present their respective views. The Insurance Department also testified, a link to which follows: http://www.portal.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt?open=512&objID=17319&PageID=502655&mode=2&contentid=http://pubcontent.state.pa.us/publishedcontent/publish/cop_hhs/insurance/news_and_media/news___media/articles/august_25__2011.html
- The NAIC meeting scheduled this week in Philadelphia is not taking place because of Hurricane Irene.
- Effective July 25, 2011 the Allentown Workers’ Compensation Office of Adjudication moved to 7248 Tilghman Street, Suite 150, Allentown, PA 18106. The phone number has changed to 610-366-6060. The new fax number is 610-366-6074.
- The Independent Regulatory Review Commission (IRRC) met August 25 and approved Insurance Department Regulation 11-248 dealing with fraternal benefit societies.
- Triumphe Casualty Company is seeking to change its home state from PA to Ohio.
- Named as Director of the State Workers Insurance Fund (SWIF) is Brian Nixon, former Deputy Attorney General and Assistant City Solicitor for Scranton and Assistant DA for Lackawanna County.
CROP INSURANCE MARKET PENETRATION NUMBERS
The August 17 AG Progress Days Crop Insurance Early Riser sponsored by PA Department of Agriculture, PA Farm Bureau and the USDA Risk Management Agency (RMA) brought together Crop Insurance agents, Department officials including Agriculture Secretary George Grieg and US Representative Glenn Thompson (R-5) who sits on the House Agriculture Committee.
In addition to topics such as the Farm Bill which Congress will consider, there was also PA market penetration data. Total number of policies declined slightly from 2009 to 2010 (12,676 from 13,519). Protection in force increased from $386.6 million in 2009 to $390 million in 2010 despite the policy number drop. This increase may be the result of increased crop prices. 2010 losses paid to farmers was $34.3 million compared to $25.3 million in 2009. Given that more than half of Pennsylvania has been declared a disaster area sometime this year, 2011 claims paid data will show a spike. Acreage insured for 2010 versus 2009 increased slightly despite a decrease in policy numbers (1,119,022 in 2009 and 1,121,682 in 2010.) Farmers in 2010 received $2.53 for every $1.00 in premium. Uncertain will be the impact of the state’s elimination of the Crop Insurance Premium Subsidy Program in the FY 2011-12 Budget on farmer decisions on purchasing Crop Insurance.
REDISTRICTING PROCESS BEGINS
The legislative process in redrawing Pennsylvania boundaries for US Congress and state legislative districts has begin with creation of a web site that will help individuals look understand the process and see maps of the districts www.redistricting.state.pa.us drawn in 2001 (current) and 1991 to get a historical sense of the districts.
HERITAGE ACTION PRESENTS POLITICAL SCORECARD
DC-based Heritage Foundation spinoff Heritage Action, issued a conservative scorecard based on litmus votes such as the Budget Deficit Deal (Heritage Action was against). PA results gave Senator Toomey an 87% rating. Senator Casey got zero percent.
House members who were the most liberal were Allyson Schwartz and Chakah Fattah (7% each). Next most liberal were Reps. Mike Doyle and Bob Brady with 10% each. Most conservative Members were Joe Pitts (83%) and Tim Murphy (59%). Other rankings were: Reps. Altmire (19%), Barletta (49%), Critz (20%), Fitzpatrick (51%), Holden 14%, Kelly 52%, Marino (55%), Platts (52%), Shuster (52%) and Thompson at 54%.