IIA logo

Issue: #2March 10, 2014
Only 21 Working Days Left - 2014 Unicameral Short Session

Few Insurance Measures Will Pass

The 60-day 2014 Unicameral "short" legislative session is now almost 2/3 over, as lawmakers began all-day floor last week.  The budget, Medicaid expansion (LB  887), and "priority" bills will eat up most of the remaining time - with contentious non-insurance issues such as tax cuts and tax policy changes, highway bonds, water projects, and prison reform, still to be debated.

    "Priority" bills named by senators, committees, and Speaker Greg Adams stand the best chance of being acted upon this session. There are eight Priority bills on IIAN's "watch list", most notably LB 961, which would, at the option of the employee, make the exclusive remedy protection for the employer inapplicable in cases where the WC Court has determined that the injury is due to the willful negligence of the employer.  The Unicameral Business & Labor Committee is working with business and labor interests to make sausage out of LB 961 and at least four other bills impacting Workers Compensation law - LB's 731 (first injury reports), 793 (death benefit provisions), 824 (disability benefits),and 951 (lump-sum settlement provisions)IIAN will be watching to see what, if anything, the committee advances to the floor for debate.  

     IIAN Legislative Representative Jim Cavanaugh has testified in hearings on two bills this session which we support:  LB 716, which would allow electronic delivery of insurance notices and documents if the insured opts in; and LB 849, which prohibits an auto liability policy from excluding or altering coverage solely because the driver is a permissive user.  Neither bill has priority status.  

    While not a priority, LB 893 was merged with LB 862 and is now ready for first-round debate (General File).  The bill would increase the amount recoverable under the Nebraska Hospital-Medical Liability Act for occurrences after December 31, 2014, from $1.75 million to $2.5  million.

Any bill on General File at this point has a better chance of passage than bills "stuck in committee". That includes LB 816 (IIAN supports), which would allow drivers to provide proof of insurance on a portable electronic device (ie, tablet or cell phone).       

     A bunch of bills impacting insurance will probably die with this session -  including LB 939, which would make false presentation of proof of financial responsibility a Class I misdemeanor and require suspension of vehicle registration unless proof is filed for three years; and LB 971, which would allow stacking of UM/UIM limits.  


Check www.iian.org every Monday for Jim Cavanaugh's "Week In Review" report for updated status on all of the bills IIAN is watching - see this week's update here. 


Go to www.nebraskalegislature.gov to see the full text and status of any bill.

3-Minute Grassroots Survey - And The Winner Is . . .

Linda Kuhlmann with Tecumseh Insurance Center won the drawing for a $50 gift card, for completing IIAN's grassroots political survey last month!  Your involvement and input at the grassroots level is essential to our success in the political arena! Your IIAN Legislative Committee needs to know if YOU know a Nebraska Senator and/or Unicameral candidate, and/or U.S. Congressman/Senator - and the issues that are important to you. Thanks to all the Big "I" members who completed the 3-minute survey!    IIAN's Legislative committee, chaired by Bob Hoppe of Columbus, is researching two issues brought forward from your surveys - Nebraska's policy cancellation laws, and workers' compensation rules governing sole-proprietor sub-contractors. 

Big "I" Applauds Passage of Flood Insurance Bill By U.S. House

Bill Includes Needed Changes To Help Consumer "Sticker Shock" - Senate Action Pending

The Big "I" applauds the U.S. House of Representatives for passing H.R. 3370, the "Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2013," last week under "suspension of the rules" requiring a two-thirds vote in favor.   The bipartisan bill would make changes to the Biggert-Waters Act of 2012 (Biggert-Waters) in order to help with the "sticker shock" some consumers are facing as a result of two provisions that create drastic premium increases in many parts of the country.  All three Nebraska Congressmen voted for the bill.  Thanks to all IIAN members who answered our Action Alert and called their Congressman!  

     "This represents a major win for independent insurance agents, as Section 207 and the bought/sold provision of Section 205 were the two specific items that the Big 'I' has been working on with Congress to find a solution," says Charles Symington, Big "I" senior vice president for external and government affairs. "The Big 'I' hopes that the Senate and House will quickly resolve the differences between their two version of flood insurance reform in order to provide meaningful relief to consumers harmed by the drastic price increases associated with Biggert-Waters."  Read more.


According to propertycasualty360.com, the lynchpin of the new pricing approach is language limiting yearly increases to 18 percent per year. It replaces language in the 2012 law mandating implementation of actuarial rates for all NFIP policies over 4 or 5 years, depending on the type of structure insured. It also instructs FEMA leaders, who oversee the federal flood insurance program, to "strive to minimize the number of policies with annual premiums that exceed 1 percent of the total coverage provided by the policy." Read the article.


Senate Could Vote This Week

The Senate decided last Thursday to hold off until this week on voting on a reconciliation measure. Some Republican lawmakers opposed putting the bill to a vote under an expedited process last week, according to sources, reported by propertycasualty.360.  Read more.   The Senate passed its version of the legislation, S. 1926, on Jan. 30 in a  67-32 vote.  That bill also included the text of "NARAB II" to streamline the nonresident licensing process for agents and brokers. This legislation has been a top priority for the Big "I" for a number of years, and this marks the first time it has been passed by the Senate. The Big "I" is especially encouraged that an amendment by Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), which would have allowed states to opt out of NARAB II, was resoundingly defeated in a 24-75 vote . Both Nebraska Senators voted against S.1926, but also against the Coburn amendment.  The full story. 

How To Contact Us

Jim Cavanaugh, Legislative Representative
1-800-342-3352/402-341-2020 Office  402-301-9675 Cell
Carol McClelland, CAE, CEO

1-800-377-3985/402-476-2951 Office  402-432-5113 Cell

Join Our List

Join Our Mailing List