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Around the PIA Western Alliance States

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Arizona Ridesharing

Arizonas Legislature is looking at a redo of regulations for ridesharing companies like Uber or Lyft. Republican Rep. Karen Fann has been negotiating with rideshare companies and taxi companies and has come up with a deal.

It sets minimum insurance standards for the ride share companies and requires driver background checks and vehicle inspections. And it has a zero tolerance policy for drug and alcohol use by rideshare drivers.

Last week the House passed her deal 55 to 0 and sent it to the Senate for action.

Source link: insurancejournal.com

 

California Mercury Insurance Settlement

California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones said Mercury Insurance Company, Mercury Casualty Company and the California Automobile Insurance Company have settled their market conduct violations for $1 million.

The California Department of Insurance says Mercury violated California law more than 350,000 times based on more than 50 illegal rating and underwriting practices. Jones said in addition to the $1 million fine, Mercury agreed to business practice reforms.

Market conduct exams help make sure insurers are fulfilling their obligation to consumers and following all insurance laws and regulations. This routine market conduct exam of Mercury Insurance resulted in payment of a penalty and business practice reforms, and serves as an important reminder to all insurers to uphold commitments made to policyholders, Jones said.

The department said Mercury failed to provide reasons for non-renewals and cancelations, used unapproved and un-filed rates, failed to consistently follow their own rating and underwriting rules, and failed to make certain required disclosures in Spanish.

Source: California Department of Insurance

 

Idaho Uber Bill

The Idaho House Transportation and Defense Committee has agreed to a bill to allow Uber the ridesharing company to bypass local city ordinances and operate in any Idaho city without city permission.

Democrats on the committee objected to the bill being passed onto the full House. Insurance and other issues are the concern.

If passed by the House and the Senate, the bill lets Uber and other rideshare firms to do their own background checks on drivers instead of the fingerprint exams demanded by law enforcement officials around the state.

 

Nevada An 85MPH Speed Limit

The Nevada Legislature is looking at a bill that will allow highway speeds to go to 85 miles per hour in some cases. Currently the maximum speed limit is 75.

A similar bill failed in the Nevada Legislature in 2013.

 

Washington Distracted Driving

The Washington Legislature is looking at new restrictions for mobile device use in automobiles. Current law bans hand-held phone calls and texting. What it doesnt prohibit is the use of Facebook, Twitter and the use of other social networking platforms while driving or while stopped at a stoplight or a stop sign or for other reasons.

This bill passed by the Senate and now on its way to the House fines a driver $209 for the first offense for reading or entering data into a mobile device of any kind while behind the wheel whether the person is driving or stopped.

After the first ticket, insurance rates will be affected.

Source link: KGW TV

 

Washington Ridesharing

This came to Weekly Industry News via Kenton Brine of the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI).

Late on March 10, the Washington State Senate amended, then passed ESSB 5550 a comprehensive measure designed to close potential insurance gaps and provide a statewide regulatory framework governing Transportation Network Companies (TNCs), drivers and vehicles. The bill passed 30-18. The bill is not as strongly worded as is an industry-supported bill that passed the House days ago (SHB 2131), but includes insurance provisions supported by PCI and our industry partners insurance requirements that were in the bill when it was considered before the Senate Transportation Committee earlier this year, including: 

  TNCs or TNC drivers (or a combination of both) must maintain primary liability insurance coverage from "app-on to app-off.

  Primary coverage required for TNCs and TNC drivers is not a private passenger automobile insurance policy (but a coverage for TNC activity may be provided by a PPA policy or endorsement as approved by the Insurance Commissioner).

  UIM/UIM is required, but only from the time that a driver accepts a requested ride until the passenger leaves the vehicle.

 

As previously reported, SSB 5550 was previously amended in the Senate Transportation Committee to remove a requirement that three first party coverage lines - comprehensive, collision and PIP -- be provided under a TNC policy.

All of these insurance provisions and requirements remain unchanged in the Senate-passed bill. 

SSB 5550 was amended with three separate amendments on the Senate floor prior to passage.  Attached below is a link to the website for the bill.  The adopted amendments are listed at the bottom of the page when the link is opened:

http://app.leg.wa.gov/billinfo/summary.aspx?bill=5550&year=2015

 

The first amendment modifies the preemption language regarding local regulations as follows:

  1. Grants the department of licensing (DOL) exclusive regulatory control over transportation network companies (TNCs), but grants law enforcement officers enforcement authority along with DOL;
  2. Provides that nothing in the new chapter shall be construed as authorizing local TNC regulatory ordinances; and
  3. Removes the authority for cities over 150,000 and counties over 440,000 to require a TNC to obtain an additional permit or license, or to impose monetary penalties, but maintains the authority to impose regulatory fees to cover enforcement costs.

 The second amendment is the main striking amendment.  This amendment:

  1. Specifies that having taxi or limousine insurance policies that cover the vehicles used for transportation network company (TNC) services and that are in effect twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week alternatively satisfies the insurance requirements of the bill.
  2. Allows the department of licensing to adjust permit fees to cover implementation costs.
  3. Prohibits a driver from refusing a passenger's request to use a toll facility that facilitates an efficient route of travel.
  4. Requires the driver criminal history record checks to be conducted on an annual basis.
  5. Allows port districts that operate airports to (a) require a TNC to obtain additional permits or licenses before operating within

The third amendment requires either the entity performing the criminal history record check or the transportation network company, rather than the department of licensing, to retain the criminal history record check.

What's next?

Although the bill maintains the insurance requirements that were included in the measure when PCI and other insurers testified in support during hearings before the Senate Transportation Committee, the amendments that were adopted will likely cause other stakeholders to raise objections.  Local governments are likely to object to the changes restrictions that relate to local safety and consumer protection standards. The Teamsters Union and local taxi drivers are likely to object to other provisions that are likely seen to provide a competitive advantage to TNC's over taxi's, limousines, and other commercial ride for hire companies.

Thus, it's unclear how the House will receive the Senate-passed bill.

As PCI has recently reported, the House has passed an insurance-only TNC bill that relates to "commercial transportation service providers" (SHB 2131).  That bill also includes requirements that TNC's and/or their drivers to maintain "app-on to app-off" primary liability, UM/UIM, PIP, comprehensive and collision coverage.   SHB 2131 was passed by the House on a bipartisan 77-17 vote on final passage.  The bill has been referred to the Senate Transportation Committee where Committee Chairman Sen. Curtis King (R-14th District) has promised an early hearing.

Source: Kenton Brine, Assistant Vice President, State Government Relations

Tags:  Around the PIA Western Alliance States  Insurance Content  Insurance Industry  Insurance News  Weekly Industry News 

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