The Delaware General Assembly will have a full plate of insurance
issues on its agenda when it reconvenes on Jan. 10, according to Richard Stokes, regional manager for the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI).
In 2006 state lawmakers are likely to consider bills that would ban the use of credit history and that would prohibit policy cancellations for weather-related claims. In addition, workers’ compensation reform may also be in play this year.
“The first six months of 2005 were particularly difficult, primarily due to the contentiousness over the credit history and weather-related claims issues,” said Stokes. “While neither bill moved last year, we expect them to be considered again early in 2006. Also, recently PCI and others in the industry are challenging the Department of Insurance’s authority to adopt far-reaching regulations restricting insurers’ ability to cancel or non-renew homeowners policies.”
Because of economic issues in Delaware, there is also considerable pressure on public officials to consider workers’ comp reform. The governor established a task force to look at the issues early in 2005 and eventually sought introduction of legislation.
However, most contend that the proposal and other similar bills fail to
make significant reform that will help the system. PCI is working with the Department of Labor Advisory Council and various business groups and expects workers’ comp reform to be a major issue in 2006.
The 2006 elections are another major issue for PCI member companies.
Eleven of the 21 senators are up for re-election and all 41 House members are up for re-election. Also, elections will be held for Attorney General, State Treasurer, and State Auditor. Presently the Democrats control the Senate (13-8) and the Republicans have
the majority in the House (25 to 15, with 1 unaffiliated member).
“PCI will continue to work with legislators and the insurance commissioner to support measures that enhance the competitive market in Delaware, allowing companies to better serve more consumers in the state,” said Stokes. “There will certainly be issues on which we don’t agree, but we will make a good faith effort
to reach consensus positions that benefit the individuals and businesses in Delaware that rely on our products and services.”
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