Like most government affairs professionals, the government affairs team at the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) was, several weeks ago, fully enmeshed in state legislative processes across the nation. Most state legislatures were approaching key legislative deadlines, and some legislatures adjourned for the year or were gearing up to do so. NICB was tracking over 500 bills and had a pretty good sense of which bills were moving forward and which bills would not be advancing further this year.
That all changed when the coronavirus disruption began to escalate in the United States. Most state legislatures across the nation, grappling with how to proceed, have temporarily suspended their legislative sessions or narrowed their focus to the most pressing bills, such as those addressing the budget and public health.
This pause has forced NICB Government Affairs, along with our industry partners, to rapidly adjust. NICB Government Affairs is regularly monitoring the new legislative calendars, reviewing new executive orders and insurance regulations issued as a result of the coronavirus outbreak, and reevaluating the viability of tracked legislation. Bills that just a couple of weeks ago were sailing through the legislative process, are now, for the most part, at a complete standstill.
“We’ve already had some great successes and we are still working as hard as ever, but the reality is that some priority legislation may be completely derailed by COVID-19,” opined NICB’s Vice President of Government Affairs, Alan Haskins.
Some NICB’s 2020 legislative successes include:
- Utah legislation that regulates post-loss assignment of benefits related to residential property and casualty policies and prohibits residential deductible rebates.
- Another Utah bill that directs the Office of the Attorney General and the Department of Public Safety to create a multi-agency strike force and the Organized Retail Crime Unit.
- A Kentucky bill that adds NICB to the immunity statute allowing for a greater flow of information on suspected fraud among law enforcement, insurers, the state department of insurance, and NICB.
- Washington legislation that creates a dedicated, recoverable surcharge to fund the Office of the Insurance Commissioner’s Criminal Investigations Unit.
According to Haskins, all four bills cleared both of their respective legislative chambers—prior to any significant coronavirus disruption—and are awaiting gubernatorial signature. “We’re fortunate that some key legislation made its way through the legislative process before everyone was blindsided by COVID-19.” Conversely, efforts in Arizona and Florida aimed at combatting auto glass insurance fraud and rogue towing practices in Illinois have now been extinguished and will have to be revived next year, Haskins explained.
NICB Government Affairs provides a comprehensive legislative tracking map for NICB member-companies and other stakeholders to see what legislation NICB is tracking. The map does not necessarily represent the full extent of bills being watched, supported or opposed by NICB Government Affairs.