Week 2 of the 2014 South Dakota Legislative Session is in the books and there is a lot of legislative activity AARP South Dakota is following. 

After the hustle and bustle of the first week, the legislative body is settling into its daily routine.  This daily routine also includes many groups visiting the Capitol.  Don’t forget AARP South Dakota’s Lobby Day is Tuesday, January 28.  The day will include lunch with legislators, group pictures with Governor Dennis Daugaard and Attorney General Marty Jackley, visits to the House and Senate galleries and many other fun activities.

This week, the House of Representatives took action on Governor Daugaard’s consumer protection legislation, which was presented in committee by the South Dakota Division of Insurance and AARP South Dakota supports.  House Bill (HB) 1050 and 1052 were passed unanimously (70-0) on the House floor and moves onto the Senate for consideration.  Last week AARP South Dakota offered testimony to the House Judiciary Committee in support of HB 1054.  On Thursday, HB 1054 passed through the House of Representatives on a 63-7 vote and also moves onto the Senate. 

HB 1054 creates a minimum set of insurance claims standards all consumers can rely on when dealing with their insurance company and is based on model legislation that has been enacted in 46 of 56 states and territories. 

HB 1054 also offers consumer protection in the following ways:
-It protects consumers from insurers who knowingly misrepresent information to consumers.
-It protects consumers from insurers who fail to acknowledge communications from consumers.
-It protects consumers from insurers who fail to promptly investigate and settle claims.
-It protects consumers from insurers who refuse to pay claims without investigating.
-It prevents insurers from altering an insurance application without the knowledge of consumers
-It prevents insurers from requiring duplicate claim forms that say the same thing.
-It prevents insurers from denying a claim without explanation.

AARP South Dakota feels these provisions are reasonable and consumers should expect their insurers to follow these common-sense guidelines.

Also, during the 2014 legislative session, South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley is bringing forward Senate Bill (SB) 23 which is consumer legislation that will revise certain provisions relating to deceptive trade practices.  This legislation is one of the outcomes from Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Task Force.  AARP South Dakota will also support this legislation and SB 23 will likely receive its first committee hearing soon.

The AARP South Dakota Question of the Week for your legislators is:
What is your position on the consumer protection legislation that has been introduced during the 2014 session; specifically HB 1054 and SB 23?

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