In the last few weeks, the Wisconsin Assembly and Senate have each met twice to vote on a lengthy list of bills ahead of the upcoming holidays. We are pleased that two more PIA-backed bills made it to the finish line of the legislative process and are waiting for the final sign-off.
First of these bills, Senate Bill 434, relating to municipal raze orders, is one that we have discussed before. This bill will change the raze order process to prevent a raze order from being issued by a municipality for an insured single-family dwelling if the damages do not exceed 70% of the insured value of the home. At present, raze orders can be issued for dwellings with damages exceeding 50% of the assessed value of the home. With assessed values varying so significantly across the state, raze orders can be issued and the insurance carrier is forced to pay the limit of insurance when damages amount to only a small fraction of the home’s actual value. When this happens, it effectively drives up premiums for other insureds and makes homes in certain areas more difficult to insure. The aim of this legislation is to align the law more closely with the concept of indemnity and make insurance more accessible for homes that may otherwise be too high a risk.
The legislation cleared both Senate and Assembly insurance committees on a bipartisan basis and went on to pass on the Senate floor on a voice vote on October 10th. It then passed the Assembly on a voice vote on October 26th. We are hopeful that Governor Evers will officially sign the legislation in the near future.
The other legislation that is waiting for a signature is Senate Bill 482, relating to regulating travel insurance. This bill is based on the NAIC and NCOIL travel insurance models that were recently updated and codifies into law terms and definitions currently used in the travel insurance marketplace. This makes compliance requirements clearer for the industry. In addition, the bill also codifies certain consumer protection measures. Those include disclosure requirements and banning opt-out provisions that force consumers to affirmatively deselect coverage when booking a trip. This legislation also had bipartisan support, clearing committees unanimously, and passed on a voice vote during the same floor dates as Senate Bill 434.
PIA is looking forward to both of these bills being signed by the Governor in the near future. As the legislative session calms down for the holidays, rest assured that PIA is continuing to look out for you and your agency.