We hope you and your families enjoyed a happy holiday and we are looking forward to great things in the new year. In December, we had a successful meeting with a number of legislators where we discussed a variety of initiatives for the upcoming session.
- NAIFA Agent Licensure and CE Legislation
Continuing Education Credit Component: We have been working with the Department of Financial Services to allow active membership in NAIFA to count towards agent’s continuing education requirements. Our bill provides a definition for “active participation” and requires the member of an association in good standing with the state to attend four or more hours of association meetings every two years. The bill specifically identifies NAIFA, FAIA, and FAHU as associations in good standing with the state, but permits the Department to recognize other professional organizations under that statutory section.
The bill allows up to four hours of continuing education credit per biennial reporting period to be approved for active participation in NAIFA-FL. The credits are not applicable towards the satisfaction of any ethics requirements or any credits required to be completed in a classroom or classroom equivalent setting.
Prohibition Against Unlicensed Transaction of Life and Health Insurance Component: Chapter 626 of the Florida Statutes regulates the unlicensed transaction of health insurance. Specifically, the statute identifies individuals other than licensed life and health agents who may be permitted to consult and advise others relative to insurance contracts. Currently, the statute permits labor unions, associations, Trusts employers to obtain insurance coverage advice and policy abstracting from any party, even if they do not hold an agents license. Our bill specifies that only licensed life or health agents or employees of the particular labor union, association, or employer may provide counsel and advice on the entity’s interests and those of their employees or members under insurance plans.
This bill will ensure that only a licensed agent or an employee the opportunity for outside parties to offer inaccurate or biased advice. Additionally, the bill allows a trustee advising a beneficiary and/or settlor of a trust to provide counseling and advice relative to the interests of those involved. We have spoken with several legislators about sponsoring this bill.
- Assignment of Benefits (AOB)
A number of parties, including NAIFA Florida, are working on a bill to address the AOB issue again this year. We are working with a strong coalition to pass effective language this session. One of the main priorities is to limit the amount of attorney’s fees awarded pursuant to an assignment from any insured of post-loss benefits, rights, or proceeds. We are also working on language to force the loser in an AOB lawsuit to pay the prevailing party’s attorney’s fees. The bill also establishes notice and record-keeping requirements that must be met. Thus far, a few drafts have been circulated throughout the coalition, but no bill has been filed.
- Health Insurance Reform
As Congress addresses the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, we are focused on what that will mean for Florida’s legislature. Almost 2 million people receive coverage in Florida through the Exchange. Terminating or de-funding the ACA could have a dramatic effect on our market here in Florida. Further, the Republican plan to replace the ACA might involve opening up our borders and allowing insurers not licensed in Florida to sell, perhaps without approved rates or forms.
- Day on the Hill Update
We are looking forward to hosting you at the NAIFA Florida annual Day on the Hill on Tuesday March 21! This year features changes in the format of the day to allow for maximum time at the Capitol. There will be a kickoff breakfast that Tuesday morning at the University Center Club (inside of Doak Campbell Stadium) rather than a luncheon. This change will allow you to have a full uninterrupted day for meeting with legislators. Additionally, rather than a reception at the Capitol, there will be a relaxing night to meet and mingle with fellow members over drinks and BBQ at the picturesque Dogwood House. We need all of you to come up in March to help advance the NAIFA Florida initiatives within the legislature!