Bill: Florida would join national insurance compact

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Florida would join a group of 41 other states that have already standardized requirements and application procedures for life insurance, long-term disability coverage and other insurance products, under a measure filed Tuesday and backed by industry representatives and state regulators, reports Michael Peltier of the News Service of Florida.

Six years after its inception, a bill sponsored by Sen. Chris Smith, D-Fort Lauderdale, would add Florida to the membership of the Interstate Insurance Product Compact, which was established in 2006 to bolster consumer protections and speed up accreditation for a host of insurance packages offered in multiple states around the country.

The compact now includes 41 states. It does not regulate health insurance coverage, though bills filed last year by Rep. John Wood, R-Winter Haven, and Sen. J.D Alexander, R-Lake Wales, would have done so. Those measures died in committee.

The compact established the Interstate Insurance Product Regulation Commission, a multi-state entity that serves as a central point of electronic filing for certain insurance products, including life insurance, annuities, disability income and long-term care insurance.

The commission develops uniform standards for insurance products that are sold nationally and approves standardized forms to be used in each state. Included in the review are such things as a policy’s font size, readability and mandatory content. Once the commission approves, a form may be used in all 41 states.

“It makes it easier and quicker for an insurer to create and offer new life and health products,” said Sam Miller, executive vice president of the Florida Insurance Council. “These are essentially national products even though sold on a state by state basis.”

If approved, the Office of Insurance Regulation would continue to oversee requirements for insurance coverage across the state, but state insurance regulators believe the commission would help speed up the process by which new policies can come onto the market without jeopardizing consumer protection.

“We support the bill,” OIR spokesman Jack McDermott said Tuesday. “It would help increase uniformity among insurance products across states, and increase speed-to-market.”

The commission has been endorsed by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners and the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.