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). Subscription information may be obtained by contacting PHILLIPS ASSOCIATES at 717/728-1217 FAX 717/232-7005 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 or added to this list.
COMMERCIAL DRIVERS LICENSE LEGISLATION IS SIGNED INTO LAW
Senate Bill 925 (Rafferty-R-Montgomery) was signed into law by Governor Tom Wolf as Act 49 of 2015. This bill updates PA requirements for the Commercial Driver’s License (CDL):
- – No employer shall allow a driver to operate a commercial vehicle unless the person is qualified
- – CDL tests are in English and no interpreters are allowed
- – PA will accept other states’ skills tests as long as those tests meet Federal standards
- – If there is evidence of fraud, the driver must retake the test(s) within 30 days
- – Commercial driver learner’s permits are valid for 180 days. An applicant must have a valid driver’s license or CDL. A permit holder must be accompanied by a CDL holder who must be physically present in the vehicle. A permit holder may only operate an empty tank vehicle (more than 119 gallons) which did not previously contain hazardous materials. A commercial driver learner’s permit holder is prohibited from operating a vehicle which is transporting hazardous material. No passengers are allowed (except for the CDL holder, test examiner or auditor).
- – PA may issue a non-resident CDL without testing if the person has a valid CDL issued by another state
- – Codes are listed describing CDL restrictions. Example is not being allowed to drive a vehicle with a manual transmission (E) or requiring corrective lenses (Q). The complete list is found on pages 9-10 of Senate Bill 925 (legis.state..pa.us)
RIDE-SHARING LEGISLATION PASSES KEY TEST
On October 27, the Senate Consumer Protection & Professional Licensure Committee voted 14-0 for Senate Bill 984 (Bartolotta- R-Washington/Greene to place ride-sharing networks such as Uber and Lyft under the authority of the PA Utility Commission (PUC). It sets forth standards of vehicle safety and includes a provision requiring the ride-sharing networks to notify drivers that their primary auto insurance company would likely reject a claim before the Uber/Lyft carrier would respond. In addition, an additional category of livery service was amended into the bill. “Dual Motor Carriers” would also be regulated by the PUC as a hybrid of traditional taxi service which uses an app such as Pittsburgh’s Yellow Cab Company does. SB 984 also authorizes the Philadelphia Parking Authority to regulate ride-sharing networks in Philadelphia.
STORAGE UNIT ISSUE RE-EMERGES
If this legislation passes, unlicensed retail clerks working for self storage companies would be able to sell property (contents) insurance to renters. Already introduced is Senate Bill 736 (McGarrigle-R-Chester). New to the field is House Bill 1669 introduced by Rep. Keith Gillespie (R-York). What each bill would do is to allow solicitation and sale of property insurance providing that the customer receives a brochure spelling out deductibles and limits as well as a notification that the coverage may duplicate coverage under the customer’s renters’ or homeowners’ insurance. The Pennsylvania Association of Health Underwriters testified previously against a version of this bill introduced last session as did IA&B which represents property/casualty independent agents and brokers. On October 29, a meeting was convened between the storage unit industry, PAHU, and IA&B to see if a middle ground could be found. There was no conclusive outcome from the meeting.
HOUSE INSURANCE COMMITTEE REPORTS PHOTO APPRAISAL LEGISLATION
On October 26, the House Insurance Committee reported out House Bill 1638 (Tobash-R-Schuylkill) to amend the Auto Appraisers Act allowing appraisers to use photos and videos as well as in-person inspections of a damaged vehicle.
- Delaware-based BIC Holdco, Inc. filed an application to acquire Philadelphia Reinsurance Corporation.
- PA Health Care Cost Containment Council (PHC4) will meet 10:00 a.m. November 4 in Harrisburg. Details: Renee Greenawalt 717-232-6787
- Magellan Complete Care of Pennsylvania, Inc. has filed an application with the Departments of Health and Insurance to operate an HMO in Lehigh and Northampton Counties.
SINGLE PAYER RE-EMERGES
Rep. Pam DeLissio (D- Phila. /Montgomery) announced that she is introducing House Bill 1688 this coming week. According to her newsletter, “The Pennsylvania Health Care Plan would be supported by savings from replacing the current multiple payer system, which is less than efficient and often profit-oriented. The plan would be funded by a 10 percent employer tax paid on payroll and a 3 percent personal income tax.” Although text of the bill is not yet available, it would appear to be modeled after single payer legislation introduced in previous sessions by former Rep. Kathy Manderino (D-Phila.). PAHU testified against single payer at least twice before and opposes this bill as well.
PEOPLE IN THE NEWS
- Veteran House Aging & Older Adult Services Committee Executive Director Sharon Schwartz retired from public service. A policy expert on long-term care, she championed the creating of the Long-Term Care Council. Contained in the bill’s language is a requirement that an insurance producer specializing in long-term care insurance be named to the Council, This legislation, House Bill 753 (Schlegel-Culver-R-Snyder), passed the House and both the Senate Aging & Youth and Appropriations Committees. It received second consideration October 28 and needs third consideration before a final vote can be taken by the Senate.
- Steve Johnson, Deputy Insurance Commissioner for Corporate and Financial Regulation, is retiring from the position he has held since 1998. He first came to the PA Insurance Department in 1990 as Chief of Financial Analysis. Previously, he worked in the PA Securities Commission and the state Auditor General’s Office. Among other things, Johnson is an expert on Surplus & Excess Lines.
- Former State Representative Fred Taylor (D-Fayette) passed away. He was the former chair of the House Business & Commerce Committee.
AMBULANCE BILL NOW IN APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE
House Bill 347 (O’Neill-R-Bucks) regarding how ambulance services can be reimbursed by insurance carriers was re-referred to the Senate Appropriations Committee. Its goal is to allow for direct EMS reimbursement but requires them to put their names on a registry maintained by the state. Since the bill has been amended twice, interested persons may wish to read the latest text.
OTHER LEGISLATIVE UPDATES…HB 965 (greater committee regulatory oversight) was referred to the Senate Rules Committee…HB 60 (oral chemotherapy insurance payment parity) was tabled by the Senate…SB 494 (repealing an Insurance Department Flood Insurance report) was removed from the table…HB 857 (reauthorizing CHIP) was re-referred to the Senate Appropriations Committee.