Yesterday, the State House unanimously passed a bill changing the definition of travel insurance within state law, and protecting consumers through clearer accountability.
House Bill 168, sponsored by the House Labor & Commerce Committee, follows model legislation agreed to by the National Council of Insurance Legislators, and seeks to standardize the practice and definition of travel insurance in all 50 states.
Representative Kurt Olson, Chairman of the House Labor & Commerce Committee said that consumers need the ability to distinguish between a retail travel agent, someone who prepares their travel, and a travel insurance broker, someone who creates the product and licenses it to the agent.
The Soldotna Republican said that the national model within House Bill 168 establishes a licensing framework with an emphasis on the insurer and not the agent, and improves consumer protection by requiring clearer accountability and notice over who is responsible for the sale.
HB 168 adds a new section to state law defining travel insurance, allowing the Alaska Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development’s Division of Insurance Director the ability to issue a limited license to a travel insurance broker.
HB 168 now moves to the Alaska Senate for consideration.