PIANH legislative update—May 2008
By Matthew Guilbault, Esq.
State Legislature looks to end 2008 session soon
Some new laws. PIANH came out of the blocks with a bang—scoring an early and important victory for New Hampshire producers and their clients. Recognizing that workers' compensation premiums can be so costly and, therefore, threaten lethal financial harm to large numbers of small New Hampshire companies, PIANH joined with contractor and small business groups to successfully repeal a new law that required small contractors to carry workers' compensation.
Other more active insurance legislation that is likely to be passed into law include:
In the health insurance world, two bills that appear to be at odds with their intended outcomes passed this year. The first was an added mandate requiring insurance coverage to address obesity and morbid obesity. While not yet signed into law at press time, no veto is anticipated from Gov. John Lynch.
The second bill was the governor's initiative to make health insurance more available and less cost prohibitive for small employers. This bill requires insurers operating in New Hampshire to offer a standard wellness plan to address the underlying costs of health care through better care management and more efficient utilization of health-care services without increasing overall cost-sharing requirements or reducing coverage for services essential to health and wellness. It was signed into law May 19, 2008.
Bills found inexpedient to legislate. Several key bills were dropped from the legislative session as their implications were not fully fleshed out or their policies met with opposition from New Hampshire's business community.
Stalled bills included a measure that would have prohibited “at-will” employment while requiring a database of employee terminations. PIANH and members of the business community turned out in large numbers to fight what would have been a major change to the state's employment laws and would have made it more difficult for employers to control their own destiny as it relates to who they hire or fire.
Another bill, which would have required mandatory automobile insurance for drivers 21 or younger upon purchase of a car never made it out of the House of Representatives. While different in its approach to this perennial issue in Concord, the outcome was no different than it has been for the last 25 years.
Summer studies. Issues that were not considered by the Legislature included deduction limitations on compensation relative to the business-profits tax; a study on prohibiting the use of certain information to underwrite motor-vehicle insurance coverage; a study relative to the misuse of Social Security numbers; and a measure relative to payments involving the towing and storage of motor vehicles.
Elections. With the session behind the state's 424 senators and representatives, only study committee bills and next November's election stand between them and the 2009 legislative session when the process will begin again. Important races are shaping up, which will determine what direction the next Legislature takes on many key issues.
Thank you to all the members who helped PIANH educate and inform the legislators on issues affecting the insurance industry and your businesses. Your association looks forward to working for, and with you, in next year's legislative session. 5/08
© 2013 by Professional Insurance Agents. All rights reserved. Disclaimer and legal notice