Maine Adjourns; Legislature Addresses Scoring, Privacy and Workers’ Comp

June 24, 2003

The Maine legislature tackled several important issues this session such as credit-based insurance scores and workers’ compensation, however it deferred action on establishing building codes and
creating a joint underwriting authority to address affordability issues with coastal property.

Maine joined a host of states enacting legislation that was based in part on the National Conference of Insurance Legislators (NCOIL) insurance scoring model act. “The NCOIL model offered Maine legislators a viable alternative to very restrictive legislation that had been considered,” said Ann Marie Weber counsel for the National Association of Independent Insurers (NAII).

Rhode Island was the only other New England state that passed insurance scoring legislation this session. Legislation in Connecticut, Delaware, New Hampshire and Vermont was defeated.

The legislature defeated a bill (HB 491) that would have changed the state’s privacy statute from opt-out to opt -in. NAII vigorously lobbied against the bill.

NAII successfully opposed several bills that would have reportedly increased the cost of workers’ compensation for employers. However, a bill (SB 21) that would increase the assessment on workers’ compensation insurance to fund the Workers’ Compensation Board Administrative fund was signed into law. Defeated legislation includes HB 395, which would have reimbursed employees for attorney’s fees and costs when forced to pursue petitions for payment of medical services and HB 110, which would have retroactively addressed lump sum benefits for loss of specific body parts.

The legislature carried over to the 2004 legislative session a bill (HB 1137) that establishes a standard statewide building code and a contractor’s licensing mechanism. NAII expressed support for the provisions of the bill that would have put in place standards set in the International Residential Code but had significant concerns with other sections of the bill.

Legislation that would have created a joint underwriting association was also carried over. NAII sought to ensure that the legislation applied only to property and not to liability insurance.

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