One of the most important goals of the PIA is to protect the integrity of the independent agency system. PIA Montana — following that philosophy — has become involved in a controversy in Montana that has serious industry implications.
PIA Montana is supporting a lawsuit — involving at least seven plaintiffs — that is going to be filed sometime this week or next challenging the constitutionality of the state of Montana taking a “fee” from the Montana State Fund to help balance the state budget.
The suit is sparked by the passage of Senate Bill 4 in the special 2016 Fall session of the Montana Legislature. The new law allows the state to take $15 million per year out of the Montana State Fund. A steering committee has formed to fight the fee. Its chairman is State Representative Greg Hertz of Polson.
PIA Montana — and other organizations around the state — believes this money grab is unconstitutional. The association agrees with the steering committee that the law creating the State Fund specifically states the premiums paid by policyholders can only be used to settle claims. Unused funds will be sent back to policyholders in the form of a dividend.
It is estimated pursuing this lawsuit — which will certainly go to the Montana Supreme Court — could take a year or more, and will probably cost $40,000 to $50,000. There is a small possibility that the legal fees could be recouped if the suit is successful.
PIA Montana has sent a $1,000 check to the steering committee to help with the legal costs. The association encourages Montana members — and if you live in another state and want to help — to join this effort and to provide financial support if possible.
If you need more information please contact PIA Montana President Travis Clark:
Or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Our goal is to — if possible — have all of your support dollars come from the PIA. You can send your contribution to:
3205 NE 78th St #104
Vancouver, WA 98665
Or you can just send a check to:
Moodys Market, Inc.
Attn: Greg Hertz
50389 US Highway 93
Polson, MT 59860