PIANH 2011 legislative wrap-up
The 162nd session of the New Hampshire General Court opened with many promises for small business. Efforts to avoid new taxes; reduce regulation; eliminate fees and enact tax incentives; and balance the budget all led to what everyone hoped to achieve—the creation of new jobs and the reduction of the deficit.
For insurance producers, PIANH monitored proposals ranging from issues such as the definition of reasonable compensation; workers’ compensation medical-fee schedules; and revisions in the business profits tax; as well as industry-specific issues like the implementation of health-care reform; and the related development of a state-wide health insurance exchange; surplus-lines taxation collection and much-needed clarification for certificates of insurance.
After a contentious legislative session with far-reaching changes for the Granite State’s political, economic and social landscape, small businesses were the winners under the new Republican control. Economic issues from a 10-cent cigarette tax cut, to extending the time for business tax credits, and shifting the burden of proof from business owners to state enforcers in tax disputes over compensation comprised the business-friendly agenda. Chambers of Commerce also hailed a new law easing small businesses’ access to health insurance.
S.B.86 (Chapter 92): Employee warnings. Rep. Pamela Tucker, R-17; Rep. Daniel Itse, R-9; Rep. David Welch, R-8. The bill requires the Department of Labor to issue one warning to employers for certain violations before a fine may be imposed. Signed by governor, May 27, 2011. Effective May 27, 2011.
H.B.133 (Chapter 204): Minimum wage. Rep. Carol McGuire, R-8. This bill dictates that the state minimum-wage level mirror the federal level. Vetoed by governor; Effective Aug. 21, 2011, Veto overridden 6/22/2011; Section 2 effective Dec. 31, 2011; remainder effective Aug. 21, 2011.
S.B.121 (Chapter 146): WARN Act. Sen. Jim Luther, R-12; Sen. John Barnes Jr., R-17; Sen. Peter Bragdon, R-11; Sen. Tom De Blois, R-18; Sen. John Gallus, R-1; Sen. Gary Lambert, R-13; Sen. Andy Sanborn, R-7; Sen. Raymond White, R-9. This bill amends the definition of “employer” in the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act. The qualifications are now “100 or more employees, excluding part-time employees; or 100 or more employees who in the aggregate work at least 3,000 hours per week, exclusive of hours of overtime.” The previous level was 75 employees. Signed by governor, June 7, 2011. Effective Jan. 1, 2012.
Excess and surplus lines
Life and health
H.B.401 (Chapter 98): Training program for those with disabilities. Rep. Cindy Rosenwald, D-22; Rep. James MacKay, D-11; Rep. Charles McMahon, R-4; Sen. Nancy Stiles, R-24; Sen. Molly Kelly, D-10. This bill authorizes the labor commissioner to establish a practical experience/training program for individuals with disabilities. Signed by governor, May 27, 2011. Effective July 26, 2011.
Moreover, persons are prohibited from issuing certificates of insurance that are misleading, deceptive or encourages misrepresentation, or one that violates any law. Of course, agents should never unilaterally revise certificate wording or issue proprietary certificates that have not been tested in court. Attorneys and risk managers often counsel their employers or clients to reword certificates to clearly state that they are part of the contract and that they grant an enforceable interest in the policy to the certificate holder. While there is general legal consensus that certificates do not create contractual obligations or rights, there are exceptions based on unique circumstances. The commissioner is authorized to publish sample certificates of insurance that provide templates as to form and content, which, in his opinion, meet the requirements of this law and are acceptable for use by insurers and insurance producers. In addition, insurance industry trade organizations, and supporting entities, are allowed to submit templates for consideration and inclusion in the set of sample certificates so published. Signed by the governor, June 7, 2011. Effective Jan. 1, 2012. 11/11
© 2013 by Professional Insurance Agents. All rights reserved. Disclaimer and legal notice