Roll Call! Senate Blocks Amendment to Remove Insurance Innovation from Bill (7-22), 2019

in the State Senate on April 3, 2019 by a vote of 

7-22 

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Purpose: The Amendment called for removing Section 1 from bill S.131. Section 1 would allow companies to grow Vermont’s economy by offering ‘trial’ insurance products that they can test out in a limited capacity within Vermont for up to two years.
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Analysis:  The underlying bill is a routine update of insurance laws. Section 1 outlines how businesses may petition Vermont’s insurance Commissioner for an “innovation waiver” regarding a specific new insurance product (excluding health insurance). Innovation waivers grant temporary exemption from some insurance regulations from January 2020 to July 2021. If the business receives an innovation waiver, they can offer the new insurance for up to 12 months to a maximum of 10,000 Vermont consumers. After which, the business may petition the Commissioner for an additional 12-month extension. The bill will sunset in July 2023, at which point the legislature would need to need to reauthorize this insurance ‘sandbox.”
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Those voting YES believe that an insurance sandbox may draw new businesses to Vermont, if they see our state as a good testing ground for new insurance products, which would broaden the tax base. It may also allow Vermont businesses to gain a competitive advantage over other states with less flexible insurance laws, spurring economic growth . The risk to consumers will be extremely minimal, given that only 10,000 consumers will be allowed to purchase any one individual insurance product for a maximum of two years, at which point Vermont legislators will critically examine whether the program works.
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Those voting NO are wary of giving an unelected Commissioner too much authority to change regulations, even temporarily. They believe Vermont should be cautious about suspending insurance regulations because they don’t want Vermont consumers to be exposed to unnecessary risks.
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Senate Journal, Wednesday, April 3, 2019. “Thereupon, Senator Baruth moved that the bill be amended by striking out Sec. 1 of the bill in its entirety and inserting in lieu thereof the following: Sec. 1. [Deleted.] Which was disagreed to on a roll call, Yeas 7, Nays 22.” (Read the Journal,p.504-p.525)

 

How They Voted

Timothy Ashe (D/P-Chittenden) – ABSENT
Becca Balint (D-Windham) – NO
Philip Baruth (D-Chittenden) – YES
Joseph Benning (R-Caledonia) – NO
Christopher Bray (D-Addison) – NO
Randy Brock (R-Franklin) – NO
Brian Campion (D-Bennington) – NO
Alison Clarkson (D-Windsor) – NO
Brian Collamore (R-Rutland) – NO
Ann Cummings (D-Washington) – NO
Ruth Hardy (D-Addison) – YES
Cheryl Hooker (D-Rutland) – NO
Debbie Ingram (D-Chittenden) – NO
M. Jane Kitchel (D-Caledonia) – NO
Virginia Lyons (D-Chittenden) – NO
Mark MacDonald (D-Orange) – NO
Richard Mazza (D-Chittenden-Grand Isle) – NO
Richard McCormack (D-Windsor) – YES
James McNeil (R-Rutland) – NO
Alice Nitka (D-Windsor District) – NO
Corey Parent (R-Franklin) – NO
Chris Pearson (P-Chittenden) – YES
Andrew Perchlik (D-Washington) – YES
Anthony Pollina (P/D/W-Washington) – YES
John Rodgers (D-Essex-Orleans) – NO
Richard Sears (D-Bennington) – NO
Michael Sirotkin (D-Chittenden) – YES
Robert Starr (D-Essex-Orleans) – NO
Richard Westman (R-Lamoille) – NO
Jeanette White (D-Windham) – NO

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