State Representative Mike Hill, R-Shelby County, was honored by the Alabama Independent Insurance Agents on March 17th as AIIA’s “Lawmaker of the Year” in an award presentation in Montgomery, Ala. to kick off its annual Young Agents Legislative Conference, during which more than 100 members heard presentations, followed up by a BBQ lunch with the State Legislature, State Appellate Court Judges and Alabama Supreme Court Justices.
Troy King, Alabama Attorney General; Quinton Riggs, Business Council of Alabama lobbyist, and Reyn Norman, associate counsel to the Alabama Department of Insurance; all addressed the group.
King urged everyone to take a stand for values in government. “You own the government, you have to spend time with it and nurture it or it goes crazy,” King said. He said that if no one pays attention to the government it gets out of control.
King explained that sometimes the government makes the wrong decisions because it bases them on wrong information, opinion polls, or the fact that a job is in jeopardy.
He applauded AIIA for being involved in government and advised them to become involved with elected officials and demand more from them.
A bill to tighten Alabama’s insurance licensing requirements to require insurance producers, service representatives and adjusters to renew their licenses every two years and to complete 24 hours of continuing education, with three hours on the topic of insurance producer ethics or business practices was explained by Norman.
Norman outlined the provisions of various insurance-related bills now in the Legislature and then answered questions from the audience about each bill. They included:
H.B. 0333 which would adjust licensing fees as necessary to accommodate biennial licensing and authorize the commission to promulgate regulations to provide for the transition from annual renewal to biennial renewal. According to AIIA, most states renew licenses every two years, so in passing HB 0333 Alabama would join the other states.
SB259, or HB0370 defines insurance fraud by a person, insurer, reinsurer, broker or their respective agents and would authorize the Department of Insurance to investigate suspected insurance fraud and require the reporting to certain public officers of suspected insurance fraud. AIIA supports the bill because it feels Alabama needs to crack down on fraud. Norman said he did not expect this bill to get out of committee discussion in time to be considered by the Legislature.
H.B. 0362, Interstate Compact for Insurance Regulation, ensures the future of state-based insurance regulation. This compact has been adopted by nine states to streamline the approval of life, disability, long-term care and annuity products in Compact member states. It will be fully operational after 26 states or states representing 40 percent of the market have adopted the legislation. AIIA supports this bill because it will move products to market quickly, provide uniform policy and rate information, and encourage more carriers to the state.
HIPAA authorizes the Insurance Commissioner to disapprove any insurance policy marketed by an insurance company or fraternal benefit society that does not meet federal law or federal regulations. AIIA supports this bill because it brings Alabama’s insurance laws into compliance with federal regulations and feels it is necessary to keep the Insurance Department in compliance with federal regulations.
At the conclusion of the presentations, attendees were bused to the Alabama Capitol for a luncheon with the Alabama State Legislature, The Alabama Court of Appeals, and the Alabama Supreme Court to discuss pending legislation and issues important to the Alabama Big I in the Courts.
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