NAMIC Commends Md. Legislative Focus on Teens; Other Bills Discussed

May 5, 2005

Resisting efforts to impose new regulatory mandates, the Maryland legislature’s enactment of seven bills to enhance the state’s teen driver graduated licensing statutes and provide stricter provisions for driving permits will address a key loss area for insurers, according to the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies (NAMIC).

“Traffic safety is a key objective of NAMIC member companies, and stiffer requirements governing teenage driving are a positive development,” said NAMIC State Affairs manager Tami Stanton. “While teen drivers accounted for only 4.8 percent of the driving population in 2003, they were the drivers in 22.1 percent of all accidents and 17 percent of those that were fatal.”

“Fortunately, the legislature did not pass negative bills mandating mold coverages, burdensome written notice requirements on flood insurance or annual homeowner policyholder statements summarizing coverages and exclusions,” added Stanton.

Brief descriptions of the bills relating to teen drivers follow:

* SB 57 and HB 393 prohibit provisional license holders under 18 from driving with passengers who are under 18, for five months after the provisional license is issued. The prohibition is not applicable if there is an older, supervising driver in the vehicle or if the passenger is a relative of the driver.

* HB 395 requires at least 60 hours, 10 hours of which must occur during the period beginning 30 minutes before sunset and ending 30 minutes after sunrise, of behind-the-wheel driving practice supervised by an individual who holds a valid driver’s license, is at least 21, and has been licensed to drive for at least three years.

* SB 50 and HB 394 provide that, except for calls to 9-1-1, an individual under 18 who holds a learner’s permit or a provisional driver’s license, is prohibited from using a wireless communication device while operating a motor vehicle.

* SB 209 provides that a learner’s permit holder may only apply for a provisional driver’s license six months after first receiving the learner’s permit or committing a moving violation which resulted in a conviction. The Motor Vehicle Administration may not issue a provisional license to an individual who is younger than 16 years, 3 months, or a license to an individual younger than 17 years, 9 months.

* SB 206 expands the prohibition against a person receiving a nonprovisional driver’s license. The existing 18-month waiting period for an unrestricted license starts anew from the date of a violation of provisional driver’s night driving restrictions or safety restraint restrictions, or the date of restoration of the person’s provisional driver’s license or driving privilege that has been revoked or suspended.

Brief descriptions of the insurance regulatory bills follow.

* HB 160 requires insurance producers selling homeowner’s insurance to receive continuing education that directly relates to flood insurance.

* HB 217 clarifies that the $125 rate and filing fee collected by the Maryland Insurance Administration.

* HB 788 narrows the current state law exemption for the business of insurance to track the exemption under federal antitrust laws.

* HB 1248 prohibits private passenger and homeowner insurers from taking adverse actions on military personnel returning from active duty overseas solely because they fail to meet underwriting standards that require continuous coverage, unless the failure to maintain continuous coverage existed prior to the assignment overseas.

* SB 97 and HB 265 clarify when the insurance commissioner can order an insurer to pay attorney fees. Additionally, insurers must inform insureds about the payment of attorney’s fees when notifying them about a proposed action.

* SB 580 and HB 666 establish procedures and set out the rights of parties under a netting agreement or qualified financial contract in a delinquency proceeding against an insolvent insurer.

The legislature also enacted bills on regulatory matters such as producer continuing education, filing fees, antitrust, military personal underwriting restrictions, payment of attorney fees and delinquency proceedings against insolvent insurers.

Topics Carriers Legislation Maryland

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