Insurance Industry Supports Time Cut for Policy Notices

Setpember 17, 2019

The insurance industry is backing bills that would cut from 60 days to 45 days the amount of advanced notice that insurers are required to give policy holders about premium increases.

The measures, Senate Bill 289 and Assembly Bill 305, were introduced by GOP Sen. Dave Craig, of Big Bend, and GOP Rep. Mary Felzkowski, of Irma, who owns an insurance company – CIS Insurance Group in Tomahawk.

Current law requires insurers who offer to renew policies on less favorable terms or with a premium increase of at least 25 percent to notify policyholders about the new terms or the increased premium at least 60 days prior to the policy’s renewal date.

The bills would reduce the 60-day time frame to 45 days for personal property and casualty policies. The bills have bipartisan, with the following Democrats as co-sponsors: Sens. Janet Bewley, of Mason; Patricia Schachtner, of Somerset; and Rep. Steve Doyle, of Onalaska.

Insurance giants American Family, State Farm, and Sentry, as well as industry trade and lobbying groups like the Wisconsin Insurance Alliance, are backing the bills.

The insurance industry gave more than $1.9 million in individual, corporate and political action committee (PAC) contributions to current legislators between January 2011 and July 2018. More than $1.5 million, or about 80 percent, of those contributions went to Republicans who control the Assembly and Senate. Topping the list of recipients were:

Republican Assembly Campaign Committee, $267,525

Committee to Elect a Republican Senate, $256,222

State Senate Democratic Committee, $125,699

Assembly Democratic Campaign Committee, $112,478

GOP Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, $94,721

Felzkowski has received about $29,900 in contributions from the insurance industry. Craig received $11,060 from insurance interests.

Democratic Gov. Tony Evers received about $8,000 in contributions from the insurance industry between January 2011 and July 2018.

Top contributors from the industry between January 2011 and July 2018 to current legislators were:

Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance PAC, $287,050

WI Insurance Alliance PACs and corporation, $218,440

Alliance of Health Insurers PAC and corporation, $97,500

Humana PACs, $94,250

WI Insurance & Financial Advisors PAC, $74,850

In addition to the WI Insurance Alliance, the other PACs and corporations controlled by companies or groups on record as supporting SB289 and AB305 and their contributions to legislators were:

American Family PAC, $42,400

State Farm’s corporation, $17,100

Property Casualty Association of America PACs, $16,000

Independent Insurance Agents of Wisconsin PAC, $9,850