sional Budget Office (CBO) says that if Congress repeals
major provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) while
leaving other parts intact, 18 million people could lose their
health insurance within a year, 32 million people could lose
coverage by 2026, and individual insurance premiums could
double. All of this indicates that “repeal and replace” is a big
job that will take time.
“You won’t find a bigger supporter of a prompt and
speedy reform of the ACA than the Insurance Commissioner
of North Dakota,” said North Dakota’s Republican Insurance
Commissioner Jon Godfread in a recent letter to congressional leaders. “The last thing America needs is another
hastily-passed health care law without proper and prudent
input from stakeholders across the country.” Godfread urged
lawmakers to “return the authority for health insurance back
to where it belongs,” the states.
No matter what shape healthcare reform ultimately
takes, PIA will continue to support legislation to ensure
that agent and broker commissions are excluded from the
calculation of a medical loss ratio under the ACA, and that
the “Cadillac Tax” (the 40% excise tax on “overly generous”
employer-sponsored health plans set to take effect in 2020)
SMALL BUSINESS & TAX REFORM
This will be an easier lift for Congress. Lawmakers will continue to consider legislation to permanently stop implementation of the U.S. Department of Labor’s overtime rule, which
has been halted by a court injunction.
A host of policies and legislative proposals seen as positive for business can be expected from Congress and the
Trump Administration. These will run the gamut from tax
reductions to regulatory relief.
REPEAL OF THE FEDERAL INSURANCE OFFICE
As part of the effort to roll back regulations under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, in
late November PIA was the first industry group to call for
repeal of the Federal Insurance Office (FIO). Subsequently,
the National Association of Insurance Commissioners came
out in support of FIO repeal, and others are expected to follow suit shortly. PIA Vice President of Government Relations
Jon Gentile spoke for FIO repeal during a meeting with the
Trump Transition Team in early January.
The U.S. insurance industry is regulated effectively
and efficiently by the states. An insurance office within the
federal bureaucracy is unnecessary.
FLOOD AND CROP INSURANCE
Two issues important to insurance agents are coming up
The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) expires
Sept. 30, 2017, and needs to be reauthorized; the current
Farm Bill, set to expire in 2018, must also be renewed.
Throughout 2016, PIA worked closely with Congress and
other insurance stakeholder groups to lay the groundwork
for legislative action on NFIP reauthorization. Priorities
A long-term reauthorization of the program to ensure
stability for consumers;
Cultivation of growth in the private flood insurance
market as a complement to the NFIP;
Elimination of the non-compete clause in the Write-
Your-Own (WYO) Arrangement, which would allow
WYO companies to sell stand-alone private flood
insurance outside of the NFIP;
Gradual movement to risk-based rates to make
the program more financially sound; and
Continuation of grandfathering of rates so that
properties can be transferred between owners without
coverage disruption or surprise.
Since the current Farm Bill was enacted in March 2014,
insurance agents have repeatedly turned back attempts by
the Obama Administration to slash funding for the Federal
Crop Insurance Program. With a new administration, there
is optimism that support for the crop insurance program and
the continuing role of the agent in delivering it will build in
advance of the 2018 reauthorization of the Farm Bill.
Over the past several years, agents have achieved a
series of legislative wins, including passage of the Policyholder Protection Act, the Protecting Affordable Coverage for
Employees Act, the National Association of Registered Agents
and Brokers, renewal of the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act,
a delay until 2020 in the implementation of the ACA Cadillac Tax, and the reversal of a planned $3 billion cut to crop
With new political leadership in Washington, D.C., there
is reason for great optimism.
PIA will continue to support legislation to ensure
that agent and broker commissions are excluded from
the calculation of a medical loss ratio under the ACA.