LEG REG REVIEW 2015, 16th Issue May 25, 2015

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.

 

ELECTION RESULTS

There were a number of local and county contests involving members of the General Assembly.

  • SABATINA WINS SPECIAL ELECTION

Rep. John Sabatina (D-Phila.) has won the special Senate election for the seat vacated by Mike Stack after he was elected Lt. Governor.  This means that there will both be a House open seat and a vacancy for the position of Minority Chair of the House Agriculture & Rural Affairs Committee.

  • PILEGGI ON FALL BALLOT FOR COUNTY JUDGE

Senator Dominic Pileggi (R-Chester/Delaware) won the Republican nomination for Delaware County Court of Common Pleas in the May 19 primary.  He ranked first in Republican votes (18,964) and almost captured a spot on the Democratic ballot, missing by only 244 votes.  Pileggi is the former Senate Majority Leader.

  • WILLIAMS TAKES SECOND IN PHILADELPHIA MAYORAL CONTEST

PA Senator Anthony Williams (D-Phila.) took second place in a crowded six-person Democratic primary for Philadelphia Mayor.

  • REP. PARKERS WINS CITY COUNCIL NOD

Rep. Cherelle Parker (D-Phila.) won the Democratic primary for Council in Philadelphia’s ninth district.

Both Senator Pileggi and Rep. Parker will continue to serve in the General Assembly depending on what happens in November.

 

AUGUST 4 IS SPECIAL ELECTION DAY

Filling two vacant House of Representatives seats will take place August 4, 2015.  This includes the CumberlandCounty seat vacated by Glen Grell who resigned to lead the Public Schools Employee Retirement System (PSERS) and the DelawareCounty seat vacated by Joe Hackett who returned to a law enforcement career.  Both Grell and Hackett are Republicans.

 

COMMISSIONER HEARING SET

On June 2, the Senate Banking & Insurance Committee convenes a confirmation hearing for Acting Insurance Commissioner Teresa Miller.  When reported out of committee, the full Senate would take up confirmation of Governor Wolf’s nominee.

 

ON THE AGENDA…

When the General Assembly returns, there are two insurance-related items on the House calendar.

–          Senate Bill 293 (Eichelberger-R-Blair) could be voted on by the House.  There is a consensus amendment being introduced by Democratic Caucus chair Rep. Dan Frankel (D-Allegheny).

–          House Resolution 212 (Ross-R-Chester) sets up a task force to analyze the management and funding of municipal retirement programs.  Not expressly stated, consolidation of municipal pension programs certainly could be an option.  Its’ 28 members include the Local Government Commission (4), members of the General Assembly (8), one by the Governor (DCED), municipal associations (6), municipal employee unions (3), PA Municipal Retirement System (1) Coalition for Sustainable Communities (1), the Auditor General, the State Treasurer, the Chair of the Public Employee Retirement Commission and “an expert in public retirement finance and retirement asset management selected by the chairman of the Local Government Commission.”

 

BILL INTRODUCTIONS OF INTEREST

  • House Bill 1097 (P. Daley -D-Fayette) establishes a state-run insurance program of last resort for water wells.  Modeled after DEP’s Mine Subsidence Insurance, the Water Well Insurance Fund would allow insurance producers to sell the product and receive a commission.
  • House Bill 1029 (Murt-R-Montgomery) establishes the Flood Insurance Premium Assistance Program under the auspices of the PA Insurance Department.  It would subsidize 15% of the Flood Insurance premium.

 

DEPARTMENT PUBLISHES EXPORT LIST

The PA Insurance Department updated its export list of types of insurance where a diligent search is not required before an insurance producer may access the Surplus & Excess Lines (E&S) market through a surplus lines licensee.  PA rules say that three standard carriers must decline offering coverage before going to E&S unless the specific coverage is on the list.  Examples include monoline dog bite liability, day care centers, fuel and explosives haulers, tattoo parlors, taxicab liability, etc.:https://www.pabulletin.com/secure/data/vol45/45-21/981.html

 

UPCOMING COMMITTEE MEETINGS

  • The House Insurance Committee meets June 1 to consider Senate Bill 494 (Ward-R-Westmoreland) eliminating a requirement that the Insurance Department provide a hard copy report on Flood Insurance to the General Assembly.  The House had earlier passed House Bill 717 (Pickett-R-Bradford) on April 13 which does the same thing.
  • On June 11, the House Consumer Affairs Committee has a hearing scheduled on TNCs (Transportation Network Companies). House Bill 1065 (Killion-R-Delaware) has a number of insurance provisions for companies such as Lyft and Uber:

–          The TCN shall maintain primary insurance for any claims arising out of an incident involving a TNC driver while providing transportation network services.

–          Lower coverage limits would apply during the time when a driver has a digital network open but has not been matched with a passenger and from the time a passenger safely exits a TCN vehicle

–          Insurance coverage begins when the TNC driver opens the digital network to connect TNC drivers and passengers and shall continue until the later of the closing of the digital network by the TNC driver, or the safe exiting of the vehicle by the passenger.

 

WORKERS COMPENSATION FILING RECEIVED BY INSURANCE DEPARTMENT                      On May 5, 2015, the Insurance Department (Department) received a filing from the Pennsylvania Compensation Rating Bureau (PCRB) that proposes changes to the appeals procedure outlined in Section 1 Rule XVI of the PCRB’s manual (Appeals from Application of the Rating System Procedure) and to introduce the definition of ”Separate Payroll Records” in Section 2 of the PCRB’s manual. Interested parties are invited to submit written comments, suggestions or objections to James Di Santo, Insurance Department, Insurance Product Regulation, 1311 Strawberry Square, Harrisburg, PA 17120, jadisanto@pa.gov by June 22. Text is available at www.insurance.pa.gov .under the tab ‘’How to Find ’” click on ”PA Bulletin.”

 

MARKET NOTES

  • Homestead Strategic Holdings, Inc. has filed an application with the PA Insurance Department to acquire control of domestic stock casualty insurance company Homestead Insurance Company.
  • According to the Insurance Information Institute (III) and State Farm, dog bite and other dog-related injuries accounted for more than 1/3 of all homeowner’s insurance claims.  While the number of claims declined by 4.7% in 2014, the average cost per claim rose to $32,072 in 2014 versus $27,862 in 2013.  PA was fifth in the Nation with 861 claims with an average cost of $26,873 and a total value of claims at $22.6 million.  (Thanks to www.claimsjournal.com  for this item.)

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