As the budget-dominated first year of a two-year Georgia legislative session winds down, a handful of insurance-related bills still remain to be settled, according to the National Association of Independent Insurers (NAII).
“There have been several days of recess for the House and Senate to continue work on the budget, and insurance issues have not comprised a significant portion of the bills introduced this session. However, there are a few significant bills that we are still monitoring,” said James S. Taylor, southeastern regional manager of the NAII.
· Credit. H.B. 215, a credit-scoring bill introduced by Rep. Rich Golick (R-Smyrna) passed the House this week. The bill is almost identical to the NCOIL model, but contains some minor changes requested by Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine. It now goes to the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee where it is expected to receive favorable treatment and pass the Senate.
· Insurance database. The NAII has been instrumental in working with the House and the Department of Motor Vehicle Services on the Georgia motor vehicle insurance database issue. This work has been necessitated by previous legislation eliminating insurance cards and making the database the sole proof of insurance. Some legislators have received complaints about errors in the database. After a great deal of negotiation between various House members and our attempts to help them solve this matter, legislators plan to introduce a substitute bill which will postpone the effective date of the system that supposedly is in place. Insurance cards will be permitted as proof of insurance in conjunction with the database for at least one more year while the system is fine-tuned. NAII is working with the Department of Motor Vehicle Services and the legislature to try to address related problems.
· Regulatory modernization. NAII is supporting H.B. 576, a flex-rating bill introduced by Representative Dodson (D-Lake City). While it would be a limited system, it would be a significant step toward regulatory modernization in Georgia. Although Commissioner Oxendine supports the bill, House Insurance Committee Chairman Jimmy Lord (D-Sandersville) is questioning its impact. The bill is still in a subcommittee and has yet to receive a hearing. Taylor said “there is a possibility this bill may not move out of subcommittee in the 2003 session.” He added that “it will still be alive for the 2004 session.”
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