Calling all agents: to influence the future and make history. The Kansas Insurance Department is spearheading an effort to have working groups help develop the Kansas Health Insurance Exchange. The working groups touch on a number of different areas and any agents interested in influencing the process should consider signing up for one of the working groups. Click here to get a list of the work groups and a sign-up sheet. You can email your sign-up sheet to email@example.com and we will be sure to get your information to the Kansas Insurance Department. Or you can send directly to the Kansas Insurance Department as the instructions on the sheet indicate. If you do volunteer, please let us know - firstname.lastname@example.org.
SB 71, the bill proposing to increase the number of required continuing education credits for licensed agents, is scheduled for hearing Wednesday, February 9 in the Senate Financial Institutions and insurance committee. The Kansas Insurance Department has worked with the bill's sponsor and is bringing multiple amendments to the bill in an attempt to comply with all of the provisions of the NAIC model law. Those amendments should not affect agents currently licensed - KAIA will be monitoring progress.
KAIA also continues to monitor:
SB77- the bill proposed to help bring the unemployment insurance fund into the black and begin re-paying the interest owed to the federal government for the money borrowed to continue issuing unemployment compensation checks. The bill is not a fix for the system that is broken - but is meant to be a temporary fix until other issues can be addressed. For additional information provided by SHRM (Southeast Human Resource Managers), click here.
HB 2119 would prevent local municipalities from charging accident response fees on citizens who need emergency and first responders to assist them. Accident response fees are a creative way to increase revenue for local governments - a second billing (or taxation) to taxpayers who have already paid taxes for emergency and first responder services. KAIA testified in support of HB 2119.
HB 2134, the re-write of the worker compensation statutes, had a hearing on Monday, February 7. It went to a subcommittee where a number of technical amendments were proposed. There were also a several clarifying amendments offered. One of the amendments includes providing a waiver for sole proprietors to sign to opt out of the workers compensation system - a KAIA supported amendment.
The compromise between business and labor is still in- tact and the plan is to get the bill out of committee on Wednesday, February 9, have floor debate on Friday, February 11, and emergency it up for a vote on the same day. Provided all goes according to plan the bill should be in the Senate next week.
In addition to the re-write of the benefits statutes for workers compensation, the Kansas Insurance Department has introduced its own workers compensation bill. HB 2139 would "modernize" the high risk pool by allowing surcharges to begin from the first dollar of premium. Currently, there are no surcharges on the first $2250 dollars of premium for any policy in the assigned risk pool. NCCI wants to change that. KAIA is monitoring the bill.
Other bills we are monitoring include:
SB85 removes the mandatory participation requirements for group life insurance. This bill first came to the legislature two years ago, but failed to pass.
HB2085 requires title companies owned by a title insurer to have an annual audit of its escrow, settlement and closing deposit accounts conducted by a certified public accountant.
HB2088 prevents municipalities from requiring fire protection sprinkler systems in new residential developments/construction.
If you have questions or input you would like to share on any of these bills or others, please contact Kerri at email@example.com.