Volume 10, Issue 6 - November/December 2008

Insurance Talk

House Considers Bill That Would
Create Federal Insurance Office

THE U.S. HOUSE OF REPREsentatives Financial Services Committee currently is considering a bill that would establish a federal Office of Insurance Information within the Department of the Treasury.

The office would be formed to:
• Collect, analyze and disseminate information and issue reports regarding all insurance except health insurance;

• Establish federal policy on international insurance matters and ensure that state insurance laws are consistent with agreements between the United States and a foreign government or regulatory entity; and

• Advise the Secretary of the Treasury on major domestic and international insurance policy issues.

The bill, known as the Insurance Information Act of 2008, also would preempt inconsistent state law and would require the head of the Office of Insurance Information to report to specified congressional committees on the financial state and meaningful trends of the insurance industry.

H.R. 5840 was introduced in April by Rep. Paul E. Kanjorski (D - Pa.). It began in the subcommittee on Capital Markets, Insurance and Government-Sponsored Enterprises, and in July was voted to the House Financial Services Committee, where it currently is under review.

LYNX to Manage Glass
Claims for Mercury
Insurance in Six States LYNX Services announced recently that it will now handle glass claims for Mercury Insurance in Arizona, Illinois, Michigan, Nevada, Oklahoma and Texas. The change took effect September 9.

Neither Mercury spokesperson Erik Thompson nor representatives of LYNX Services could be reached for comment.

Mercury General Corp. is a multipleline insurance organization offering predominantly personal automobile and homeowners insurance through a network of independent agents and brokers in 13 states.

Amica Mutual Selects Gerber National Glass Services as Auto Glass Administrator
Amica Mutual Insurance Company, based in Lincoln, R.I., has selected Gerber National Glass Services (GNGS), a subsidiary of The Boyd Group Inc., to administer its glass claims program.

“We are excited to have been selected by Amica to service their customers,” says Eddie Cheskis, chief executive officer of Gerber National Glass Services.

“We expect Gerber’s glass claims management program to continue to provide the superior service our customers have come to expect,” adds Sean Welch, assistant vice president for Amica.

IIHS Report Argues That Raising Drivers’ License Minimum Age Reduces Teen Crashes
A recent report by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety promotes  the benefits of delaying licensureof drivers to later ages in an effort to reduce crashes involving teenage drivers. According to the report, which is the result of a study conducted by Allan Williams, IIHS’ former chief scientist, teenagers in Great Britain and Australia are not allowed to obtain drivers’ licenses until age 17. For most countries in the European Union, the required age is 18. However, most U.S. states-with the exception of New Jersey-allow licensure at around the age of 16; the New Jersey age of licensure is 17.

The IIHS study argues that delaying the age at which licensure is allowed, and providing a graduated system (which usually includes a permit period and limits when and with whom a new young driver can take the wheel) reduces crash rates involving teenage drivers.

During this year’s legislation sessions, Delaware, Florida, Massachusetts and Georgia saw legislation introduced to raise the minimum age to get a driver’s license to 17; likewise, a second bill in Massachusetts proposed a required age of 18 for licensure, while one in Illinois also suggested 18. None of these bills were passed, however.

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