Legislative Update

Kustoff’s bill would expand claims options for disasters


WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Representative David Kustoff (TN-08), a member of the House Financial Services Committee, introduced H.R. 3363, the Claims Licensing Advancement for Interstate Matters Act (CLAIM Act) on July 24. This legislation is designed to help independent insurance adjusters file insurance claims more efficiently, ensuring consumers expeditiously receive the funds needed to repair and rebuild communities — particularly in times of disaster.

This bipartisan bill is co-sponsored by U.S. Representatives Bill Foster (D-IL), Ed Royce (R-CA), Steve Stivers (R-OH), Rod Blum (R-IA) and Phil Roe (R-TN).

“When disaster strikes, it is critical that consumers are able to reach their home insurance provider immediately and receive their insurance claim as quickly as possible,” Kustoff said. “Unfortunately, when catastrophes occur, often thousands are affected at one time, overwhelming the select insurance adjusters in the area.

“The CLAIM Act would open doors for consumers to utilize independent claims adjusters in nearby states. It will also encourage the states to adopt uniform and reciprocal licensing procedures, allowing adjusters to use their home state for licensure. Most importantly, this bill respects states’ rights and would ensure that each state keeps its independence to adopt rules as it sees fit.”

Additionally, consumers are often forced to wait as independent claims adjusters face a myriad of inconsistent state licensing regulations that slow the process of approving funds. As a result, companies are forced to spend money on duplicative licensing rather than investing in new jobs and boosting the economy in the region. This overcomplicated system for filing insurance claims hurts consumers, as they are the ones paying for these costs in higher premiums.

The CLAIM Act will also simplify the process of obtaining an independent license for claims adjusting. Virtually all independent claims adjusters must get licenses for each state in which they work. Given the licensing complexities, it is common for adjusters to hold multiple state licenses, which is inefficient, harms job creation and requires adjusters to take time off from their job and travel to each state in which they seek a license.

This legislation would end this costly burden, and overall, streamline the claims adjustment process so that individual claims adjusters can respond in the fastest and most cost-effective manner possible.

Kustoff is a member of the House Financial Services Committee, serving on three subcommittees for the 115th Congress: Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit, Oversight and Investigation and Terrorism and Illicit Finance. He previously served as the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Tennessee under President George W. Bush.

Bipartisan effort to focus on National Whistleblower Day

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Right now on Capitol Hill, division among politicians has reached a fever pitch. Between the recent health care battle and the upcoming brawl over tax reform, bipartisan support is rare, if not non-existent. But today, July 27, that divisiveness will be suspended for National Whistleblower Day.

“Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle will be crossing party lines for a historic look at how to change current policy to protect whistleblowers and combat corruption,” says Stephen Kohn, a nationally prominent whistleblower attorney. “It’s a day to examine how whistleblowers have transformed US government, while charting a new course for the future of whistleblower protection.”

See details at whistleblowers.org.

Senators Corker, Warren comment on health care

warren-corker-montageWASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) released a statement July 20 about the Senate health care debate.

“After being involved in many discussions over the past several months with my colleagues and stakeholders across Tennessee, I believe the best path forward is for Congress to repeal the Affordable Care Act after a reasonable transition period,” Corker said. “This takes us back to a level playing field where, by a date certain, all sides have incentive to work together to develop a health care replacement that can generate broad support and will stand the test of time. Regardless of how we move forward, it is my hope that our focus will be not only on coverage but also on lowering the actual cost of health care.”

On Monday, U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) sent out a warning to media outlets that the Senate health care bill is “back from the dead” and ready for an immediate vote this week.

In her press release, she said, “If you haven’t heard about this, you’re not alone. Mitch McConnell is counting on the fact that everyone thought this bill was dead, and they are now distracted by news of the Russia investigation. For Mitch, this looks like the perfect moment to jam an Affordable Care Act repeal bill through the Senate.”

She urges Americans to share their stories about why the Affordable Care Act or Medicaid matter to them. “If you’ve already shared it your story, share it again (and again),” she said. “Email it to your friends. Post it on Facebook or Twitter. Take a photo or video on your phone.”

She added, “Our Senate Democrats are united against this bill — but if you have family or friends who live in a state with a Republican senator, make sure they know what’s happening to health care this week. Call, text, email, message — today is the perfect day to check in.”