DeLuca-amended bill passes House, heads to governor’s desk for signing

HARRISBURG, June 19 – On Monday, H.B. 152, which would assist beneficiaries in determining if a decedent had a life insurance policy in place, unanimously passed the House, according to state Rep. Tony DeLuca.

“I’m happy to announce the passing of House Bill 152,” said DeLuca, D-Allegheny. “This is an important bill for consumer protection, and I’m glad to see that my previous legislation, House Bill 2434, was amended into this bill as a means of guaranteeing consumers are given the ample protection they deserve.”

House Bill 2434, which was amended into H.B. 152 by the state Senate, would establish criteria to ensure people have been reasonably informed about various policy features of an annuity before it is purchased; including surrender fees, investment advisory fees and tax penalties, among other consumer protections.

If signed into law, DeLuca’s provision would update the suitability of annuity transactions of the Insurance Company Law and would prohibit an insurer from issuing an annuity recommendation to a consumer, unless there is a reasonable basis to believe that the annuity is in the best interest of the consumer.

“Determining suitability would be based on the consumer’s information, including age, income, financial experience, risk tolerance and other factors,” DeLuca said. “Having this protection is of the utmost importance to our senior citizens, but this also provides all Pennsylvanians with the protection they need.”

The state’s Suitability of Annuity Transactions Law was passed in 2010 to protect consumers placed in an annuity contract that was not suitable for the consumer. However, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners passed an updated model bill to strengthen suitability requirements, which is what DeLuca’s proposal would do.

DeLuca, Democratic chairman of the House Insurance Committee, said the implementation of his legislation would bring the commonwealth into alignment with the 37 other states and the District of Columbia that have passed the updated NAIC model bill, while also providing commonwealth residents with added consumer protection when purchasing annuities.

House Bill 152 heads to the governor’s desk for consideration.