The 2006 Maryland Legislature adjourned its regular session but not before taking steps to streamline some of its insurance regulations in ways welcomed by insurers.
House Bill 570/Senate Bill 913 creates a 45-day underwriting period for binders or policies of private passenger auto, homeowners, dwelling or commercial property or liability coverage. The binder or policy may be cancelled during this 45 day period if the risk does not meet the insurer’s underwriting standards.
House Bill 760/Senate Bill 948 separates statutes dealing with cancellation/nonrenewal of private passenger motor vehicle liability policies from statutes dealing with notice of premium increase for the same policies. “It eliminates several regulatory hurdles auto insurers needed to jump that provided no meaningful protections to insurance consumers,” said Don Cleasby, PCI regional manager and counsel.
Progress was made on regulatory modernization legislation with passage of House Bill 245/ Senate Bill 63. This bill lowers the annual aggregate property and casualty premium level to qualify as an exempt commercial policyholder from $75,000 to $25,000. This will allow additional commercial insureds in Maryland to establish rates and policy form standards that best meet their individual needs.
In addition, Maryland lawmakers passed 21 other bills passed affecting property and casualty insurers, according to PCI. These bills dealt with workers compensation, auto insurance, territorial rating, homeowners’ bill of rights and limiting the use of inquires in underwriting homeowners insurance.
“The Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI) is pleased with the Maryland General Assembly for taking steps to modernize and streamline existing laws,” said Cleasby. “Most important was updating Maryland’s burdensome cancellation, nonrenewal and notice of premium increase laws in a manner that continues to provide protection for Maryland insurance consumers and give more commercial insureds the freedom to price and shape their insurance. We applaud the General Assembly for recognizing this by passing these bills and urge Governor Ehrlich to sign them into law.”
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