LEG REG REVIEW 2016, 2nd Issue – January 18, 2016

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 xenobun@aol.com.  Please email jtrout2792@aol.com supplying both your name and e-mail address if you wish to be removed from or added to this list.

 

MORE RETIREMENTS FROM THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY

Several more members the PA General Assembly indicated that they have chosen not to seek re-election:

  • Rep. Mauree Gingrich (R-Lebanon), Chair of the House Labor & Industry Committee which handles Workers’ Compensation legislation
  • Rep. Nick Kotik (D-Allegheny), Minority Chair of the House Gaming Oversight Committee
  • Rep. Mike Vereb (R-Montgomery)
  • Senator Shirley Kitchen (D-Phila.), Minority Chair, Senate Public Health & Welfare Committee. Majority Chair Senator Pat Vance (R-Cumberland) had already announced her retirement at the end of this term.

 

PA COMMISSIONER NOW NAIC P/C CHAIR

Announced January 11 by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), PA Insurance Commissioner Teresa Miller has been named Chair of the NAIC Property and Casualty Committee.  This is a major appointment in that the NAIC committees have a major role in crafting and vetting NAIC positions on insurance issues.  In her position, Commissioner Miller will also be the NAIC representative to represent the commissioners’ view to Federal regulators such as the Federal Insurance Office (FIO) and to the Congress such as her testimony in January on private sector flood insurance to the US House of Representatives Financial Services Committee.  (NOTE: Next issue of Leg Reg Review will summarize parts of her testimony.)

 

2016 SESSION DAYS ANNOUNCED

Legislative session days were announced for the first six months of 2016.

Month                                     House                                      Senate

January                                    25,26,27                                  19,20,25,26,27

February                                  8,9,10                                      same as House

March                                      14,15,16,21,22,23                   same as House

April                                        4,5,6,11,12,13                         same as House

May                                         2,3,4,16,17,18,23,24,25          9,10,11,16,17,18

June                                         6,7,8,13,14,15,20                    same as House

21,22,23,24,25

26,27,28,29,30

 

After Governor Tom Wolf’s Budget Address to the General Assembly scheduled for February 8, the House and Senate Appropriations Committees will hold hearings on the proposed State Budget for FY 2016-17 beginning in February and continuing into early March.  The February 8 speech is supposed to present the State Budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2016 but the vetoed portions of the current budget and attempts to restore them may overshadow his speech.

 

NOTE TO PAHU MEMBERS:  The 2016 Day on the Hill was originally scheduled for April 19.  Since the General Assembly is not in session on that date, it will be rescheduled for another date in April.

 

 

 

POLITICAL NOTES

  • As expected, former Rep. Josh Shapiro (D-Montgomery) and current Montgomery County Commissioner has thrown his hat into the ring for the Democratic nomination for Attorney General.  He was appointed Chair of the PA Commission on Crime & Delinquency by Gov. Wolf in 2015.
  • It is petition signature time for those seeking their respective party’s nomination for PA House where all 203 seats are open and for 25 of the 50 Senate seats.  If you or anyone knows of someone with a background in insurance whether company or agent side, please contact Leg Reg Review at xenobun@aol.com so that the candidacy can be noted in this publication.

 

MARYLAND CONVENES LONG-TERM CARE INSURANCE HEARING

The Maryland Insurance Administration (MIA) has scheduled a January 22 hearing at the Community College of Baltimore County in Catonsville, MD.  The focus is on the state of long-term care insurance and “appropriate regulatory guidelines including discussion of premium rate increase requests and policyholder protections.”  Following are the questions MIA Commissioner Al Redmer, Jr. hopes to address:

  • Pros and cons of Maryland’s 15% rate increase cap
  • Personal experience with long-term care insurance
  • Key drivers for long-term care insurers’ significant premium increases
  • Key steps to mitigate impacts of these premium increases
  • Key steps to improve long-term care insurance consumer protections and claims practices
  • Current state of the older long-term care insurance blocks of business
  • Future of long-term care insurance as an option in funding long-term care

Those wishing to testify should contact Adam Zimmerman (adam.zimmerman@maryland.gov) 410-468-2048.  Written comments and requests to testify should be received by January 20, 2016.  A mailing address for written testimony is Adam Zimmerman, MIA, 200 St. Paul Place, Suite 2700, Baltimore, MD 21202 or FAX at 410-468-2038.

 

REGULATORY UPDATE

  • The PA Insurance Department said that Commissioner Miller’s Notice to health insurers that diagnostic dense breast exams must still be considered first-dollar — no cost to the patient will not be affected by an announcement by the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) that it found insufficient evidence to make recommendations for or against 3D mammography and other screening tools such as ultrasound for screening women with dense breasts.  The Commissioner’s interpretation is that Pennsylvania law requires coverage of mammograms, whether they are 2D or 3D mammograms.
  • Endurance Specialty Insurance, Ltd. has applied to the Insurance Department as a certified reinsurer in the Commonwealth.

 

FLOOD INSURANCE NEWS

Agents writing Flood Insurance under the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) in West Virginia should note that the State of West Virginia/FEMA Joint Field Office in Charleston, WV will close January 22, 2016.  The Joint Office has operated for the past ten months to support recovery from the 2015 spring and summer storms that impacted 67 West Virginia counties….NFIP has a new online video tutorial.  ‘Flood Insurance Manual Changes’ summarizes the changes that took effect November 1, 2015.  Many of these changes show the implementation of the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2014 and the continued implementation of the 2012 Biggert-Waters Law.  Details nfiptraininginfo@h2opartnersusa.com

 

 I- DAY DATES & CONTACT POINTS

– Pittsburgh I-Day is March 30.  Details: www.insclubpgh.com/I-Day

– Philly I-Day is April 28.  Details: www.insurancesociety.org

– Central PA I-Day is May 5.  Details: www.centralpaiday.com

– When information regarding Reading I-Day is available, it will be posted in Leg Reg Review.

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