Yesterday, the House Commerce conducted a hearing of House File 2553 the industry sponsored weather related claims bill. This bill would allow insurers to employ separate deductibles or surcharges for homeowners with multiple weather claims and remove from law a requirement that a homeowner must receive notice that another claim could result in a non-renewal of their policy. The bill also prohibits roofing contractors from acting as an adjuster or power of attorney for the policyholder.
Ken Ohl, Immediate MIIAB Past President, and Bob Johnson, President of Insurance Federation of Minnesota, presented the bill to the committee along with the author of the bill, Representative Joe Hoppe (R - Chaska). The room was filled with independent contractors opposed to the bill and group applause was awarded to any criticism of the proposal. After Ken and Bob presented the bill several roofing contractors expressed their opposition to limiting their actions with homeowners.
The major section of the bill relating to insurers that would have allowed companies to separately underwrite weather claims was removed from the bill by its author. This provision was opposed by Commerce Commissioner, Mike Rothman and clearly did not have enough support to gain passage. The MIIAB has received mixed reaction to this proposal as well.
With the removal of the weather claims underwriting provisions, the debate center on the provision of the bill that prohibited contractors from acting as adjusters or representing or negotiating on behalf of the homeowner with the insurance company. The contractor could discuss the terms of the contract between the insured and the contractor with the insurance company but only after the claim has been accepted by the insurer.
This provision led to the majority of the debate and after over an hour of testimony the committee voted to pass the bill. However, Joe Hoppe, the author the bill, agreed to not move the bill forward on the House floor unless an acceptable agreement with all parties including the Commerce Department is worked out.
The bill is scheduled for a hearing in the Senate during the week of March 19.