PIACT Diamond Club Reception Reviews Deregulation Issues

March 3, 2003

The Professional Insurance Agents of Connecticut, Inc. hosted its Diamond Club Reception at the Officers Club in Hartford, Wednesday, Feb. 26 where PIACT member agents, Connecticut General Assembly representatives and their staffers reviewed important insurance issues.

Nearly 40 independent insurance agents, legislators and legislative staff attended the annual event. Among those in attendance were Sen. Joseph Crisco, co-chair of the Insurance and Real Estate Committee, Sen. Anthony Guglielmo, Sen. George Gunther, and Rep. Christopher Stone.

High on the agenda for many of PIACT members was the deregulation of commercial insurance rates and forms. PIACT Legislative Chairperson Robert C. Shanley, CIC, said the reception enabled him to speak directly with members of the General Assembly who are currently considering a bill that seeks to accomplish deregulation; a measure PIACT opposes.

Shanley stated that “Deregulation of commercial rates and forms is not in the best interest of the insurance consumers of Connecticut, and I was happy to have the opportunity to discuss the reasons why with Sen. Crisco and Rep. Stone, who both serve on the Insurance and Real Estate Committee.”

PIACT President-elect Robert B. Gyle IV, CIC added, “Connecticut’s current regulatory system has been effective for a long time. It gives the commissioner the time she needs in order to ensure insurance consumers of this state are not being taken advantage of.”

Several weeks ago, PIACT’s government affairs counsel testified in front of the Insurance and Real Estate Committee and voiced PIA’s willingness to work with the committee, the Insurance Department, and other industry representatives on an approach to rates and forms that would best serve the people of Connecticut. At the reception on Wednesday, Rep. Chris Stone agreed that cooperation among all those involved would be a positive step in the right direction.

In keeping with PIA’s long-time support of legislation that will benefit and protect insurance consumers, another topic of discussion was a bill that is being considered by the Insurance and Real Estate Committee that would prohibit the payment of referral fees or commissions to unlicensed persons. PIACT President Jim Pascarella, CPCU, remarked “If this prohibition is reinstated, it will remove the incentive for those making referrals to think only in financial terms, and not in terms of what is best for the client.”

Pascarella also said that the reception allowed him to explain the realities of the referral fee situation to several of the legislators in attendance, stating, “Sometimes the best feedback for legislators is from those in the business who deal with these issues daily.”

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