The Legislative session concluded in the early morning hours yesterday. Lawmakers are not expected to return until January 2019.
Big I New York scored several wins for agents this year. Below is a summary of some of the noteworthy bills that PASSED during the session.
It has been a very busy legislative year. You can always feel confident that Big I NY has your back.
Big I New York's Business Entity Licensing Simplification Bill (S.6445/A.8484)
Big I New York successfully championed passage of a bill it developed to address a major issue for members concerning their multiple business entity license renewal dates. The association has been working on this bill for the last couple sessions, meeting with both DFS officials and lawmakers to develop a bill that would be agreeable to all parties.
Since agencies that sell insurance are licensed for all lines of insurance and are licensed as both agents and brokers, they must keep track of three separate renewal dates.
This bill would establish June 30 of odd-numbered years as the one common expiration date for all business entity licenses, making the renewal process much simpler for agents.
Pre-licensing Education (S.7634A/A.9527)
Another top priority bill that Big I New York supported will make it easier for those people who want to be licensed as property/casualty and personal lines insurance agents to complete their required pre-licensing education. Instead of requiring pre-licensing coursework to be conducted in a classroom setting, it allows the coursework to be taken through a correspondence course or a course offered over the internet.
Electronic Delivery of Insurance Notices (A.1683/S.2526)
The bill would allow property casualty insurance companies to electronically deliver notices to customers, with their consent, even when a statute requires delivery by mail. The bill would also establish procedures designed to protect consumers.
Free Trade Zone (S.7746A/A.10634)
The bill extends the current provision that permits certain qualified insurers to write insurance without the Department of Financial Services' prior approval of rates and forms, from June 30, certain2019 to June 30, 2023.
Stop Loss Extender (A.11014/S.8995)
Big I New York also supported a bill that would extend for an additional five years the grandfathering of mid-sized groups with 51-100 employees that currently self-fund health benefits with stop loss coverage.
Due to changes made in the law to reflect the provisions of the Affordable Care Act, stop loss insurance was prohibited in New York in 2013.
Fortunately, during the past two legislative sessions, the law was amended to create a "grandfather period" to allow for stop loss coverage to continue for certain, eligible self-funded, midsized groups.
Small Business Regulatory Relief (A.8205/S.4120)
The bill would provide regulatory relief to many small agencies that violate a state agency regulation.
The bill requires all state agencies to allow a first-time small business rule violator with the opportunity to cure or take ameliorative action before a penalty is imposed. A small business is defined as one resident in the state, independently owned and operated, not dominant in its field and which employs one hundred or fewer people. This bill would prevent DFS from levying fines and penalties against small insurance agencies that may have simply made a mistake.
Paid Family Leave Expansion (S.8380/A.10639)
The bill adds bereavement leave for the death of a family member to the list of reasons paid family leave may be taken. The expansion would take effect Jan. 1, 2020.
Workers' Comp for TNC drivers (S.8929/A.10970)
The bill will ensure that transportation network company (TNC) drivers will continue to receive workers' compensation coverage through the New York Black Car Operators' Injury Compensation Fund, Inc. The enacting legislation had only provided for this coverage for a limited period.
Requires the DFS to provide for an actuarially appropriate reduction in the rates of fire insurance premiums or the fire insurance component of homeowner's insurance premiums applicable to residential real property equipped with smoke detecting alarm devices in cock lofts. It also requires DFS to develop regulations to establish standards for smoke detecting alarm devices in cock lofts, including the safe and secure installation thereof. A cock loft is a completely enclosed space between rafters and a suspended ceiling.
CE Credit for Association Membership (A.7012B/S.3960A)
This bill allows membership in a statewide professional insurance association to be counted as six credits of an insurance producer's continuing education requirements. The bill recognizes the vital role associations play in educating their membership about important business issues. While we support the concept, we have concerns over its implementation and will continue our work to ensure it would be positive for members.
This bill extends a provision of the insurance law which allows HMOs to offer to certain municipalities a group high deductible health plan in conjunction with a health reimbursement account or a health savings account, provided that the plan is offered pursuant to an existing collective bargaining agreement between the municipalities and its employees and that the municipality pays the deductible on behalf of its employees. The provisions of this bill would sunset on December 31, 2021.
Design Professional Liability (S.6622A/A8293-A)
The bill provides that in contracts for public works, design professionals (engineers, architects and surveyors) may not be required to indemnify state agencies, public authorities and local governments for damages that are the responsibility of other parties, and that contract provisions that attempt to expand the defense and indemnification obligations of such design professionals to include damages caused by other parties are void and contrary to public policy.
ELANY Extender (S.7626/A.10584)
The bill extends the authorization for the Excess Lines Association until July 1, 2024.
Local Cost Data (S.2746/A.808)
This bill would require independent adjusters issued a temporary permit by the superintendent of financial services to utilize cost data that is appropriate for the region of the state where they are adjusting. It would make it an unfair claims settlement practice for insurers to artificially lower cost data used for adjusted claims or use cost data that is not appropriate for the region of the state where the loss occurred.
Workers' Compensation-Acupuncturists (S.6666/A.7431)
This bill authorizes the care and treatment of injured employees by a duly licensed and registered acupuncturist under the workers' compensation program.
DMV Reexamination (A.11121/S.8990)
The bill would authorize the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to require driver's license holders to submit to a DMV reexamination of their fitness to drive if the licensee experienced a loss of consciousness and was involved in a reportable accident while driving and DMV receives evidence that the loss of consciousness caused or contributed
to the accident.
Rental Vehicle Law Extender (S.8317/A.11097)
To extend the provisions of GBL § 396-z relating to certain rental vehicle protections for an additional five years.
Rental Vehicle Law Updates (S.8389/A.5270)
Updates and adds several consumer protections to the rental vehicle law. It also clarifies language regarding the timeframe an insurer has the right to inspect a damaged rental vehicle.