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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2015 - 2016 Regular Session


Posted: March 24, 2016 04:10 PM
From: Senator Guy Reschenthaler
To: All Senate members
Subject: Travel Insurance Modernization
In the near future I intend to introduce legislation to reform the insurance licensure requirements for Pennsylvania travel agents by reducing unnecessary burdens on these small businesses and offering greater protection to Pennsylvania residents through new training and consumer disclosures.

Pennsylvania’s travel agency industry includes 456 retail locations that contribute 2,658 full-time jobs and approximately $129 million in direct economic impact to the state. These are predominantly small businesses, with 91 percent of them employing fewer than 10 people and 71 percent employing fewer than 5. They provide travel services but are not insurance agents, yet they are treated as such under the current licensing law that requires every travel retailer and employee of the travel retailer to hold a limited lines producer license.

My legislation, which is consistent with national standards adopted by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) and the National Conference of Insurance Legislators (NCOIL), mirrors legislation/regulations adopted by 41 states to date. Specifically, it will enable Pennsylvania travel agents to work under the license of the producer of the insurance product itself. This puts the onus for the product to comply with state regulations on the producers/carriers rather than the travel agents or their employees in storefronts. By bringing PA travel retailers under the producer’s umbrella, the legislation also provides the necessary protection to travel retailers from being tied up in complaints related to the travel insurance product—complaints to which the producers/carriers are the ultimate respondents. Furthermore, my legislation assigns strict enforcement authority to the Department to ensure that the licensee (producer/carrier) is responsible for the acts of the travel retailers acting under the licensee’s license. Finally, the bill ensures there is no loss in licensee and appointment fees paid to the Commonwealth annually.

Providing regulatory relief would allow Commonwealth travel retailers to remain competitive in an increasing global online travel marketplace by cutting red tape.

I hope you will join me in co-sponsoring this legislation. Please contact my office with any questions at 717-787-5839.

Introduced as SB1331