More Catastrophe-Related Laws Enacted in 2006, Survey Shows

February 23, 2007

Enacted catastrophe-related laws increased dramatically in the states last year, according to the annual survey of state insurance laws prepared by the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies (NAMIC).

“Ten states enacted 17 catastrophe-related bills last year as compared to three states in 2005,” said David Reddick, NAMIC’s associate director of public policy. “Five bills were enacted in Louisiana following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita while Florida and Hawaii each passed resolutions calling for creation of a national catastrophe fund.”

This year, state lawmakers already appear on pace to equal or exceed last year’s total, Reddick added.

While catastrophe-related bills increased, the total number of property and casualty-related bills actually decreased last year. The NAMIC survey found that 44 states and District of Columbia collectively enacted 539 bills as compared to 625 property/casualty insurance laws in 2005.

“Six states operate on a biennial basis and did not meet in 2006,” Reddick said. “Another reason for the decrease is that in election years like 2006, legislators generally tend to pass fewer bills than non-election years.”

As usual, motor vehicle insurance bills represented the largest single category of bills in the 2006 survey with 169 bills. Traffic offenses were the largest sub-category with 42 bills.

“States are continuing to crack down on drivers who drive drunk by increasing the penalties for repeat offenders,” Reddick said. “Ten states also enacted laws related to teen drivers while 10 states also enacted a series of traffic safety-related bills.”

Workers’ compensation was the second largest bill category with 82 bills enacted. The largest number of those bills – 21 – related to benefits, claims and authorized treatments.

Identity theft legislation was the third with 22 states and the District of Columbia enacting a combined 36 bills.

A copy of the annual survey of state insurance laws is available at NAMIC Online.

Source: National Association of Mutual Insurance Cos.

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