– NEW YORK SECURE CHOICE SAVINGS PROGRAM ACT

S6045D (Savino) / A8832F (Rodriguez)OPPOSED

History:  Introduced this session

Bill Purpose:  Establishes a state-run pension program for “employees of smaller establishments”

Status:  A8832F placed on Assembly debate calendar and laid aside. S6045D did not move from Senate Finance Committee.

NAIFA-NYS has steadfastly opposed government run retirement plans (GRAs).  Back in January 2016, we wrote an op-ed to the New York Times and asserted that—rather than creating an unnecessary and untested government program—federal officials should support existing life insurance products that already meet retirement needs.  In New York, NAIFA-NYS lobbied against the Assembly bill—and made clear that a private-sector market already offers diverse, affordable options, including 401(k) and 403(b) plans, and traditional and Roth IRAs.  We noted that employees have ready access to plans through local agents and advisors if their employers don’t offer a retirement option.  Thanks in part to NAIFA-NYS efforts, the Assembly bill stalled, and the Senate companion never left the Finance Committee.

– COMPANY INSURANCE

S7536 (Seward) / A10267 (Cahill) – OPPOSED

History:  Introduced this session

Bill Purpose:   To establish a state Insurance advisory board for companies within the Department of Financial Services

Status:  The bill was amended (S7536A / A10267A) to add two (2) insurance producers to the board.  The amended version passed the Senate and Assembly and is awaiting delivery to the Governor.

NAIFA-NYS strenuously opposed the original bill, which excluded life insurance agents from the 15-member board, and in response to our objections, the sponsors amended the bill to add two (2) producers.  Better, we said—but not good enough.

So, we issued two calls to action to NAIFA-NYS members—resulting in a flood of e-mails and telephone calls to legislators urging more representation for producers.  We negotiated with Senate and Assembly bill sponsors to adopt an alternate approach:  give life insurance agents their own advisory board, let the insurers have their board, and create one for public adjusters, since NYS regulates them also (see Senator DeFrancisco’s bill, S80608A, listed below).  Time ran out before much progress could be made on our alternate legislation—but we set the tone for discussion next legislative session, and we stood up for the rights of life insurance agents.  There’s no question…regulators and insurers heard what NAIFA-NYS had to say.

– MULTIPLE INSURANCE ADVISORY BOARDS

s8068A (DeFrancisco) – SUPPORT

History:  Introduced this session

Bill Purpose:   To establish three advisory boards:  a state Insurance company board, a state insurance producer board, and a state insurance adjuster board—in lieu of the company insurance advisory board legislation (S7536A / A10267A)

Status:  In the Senate Rules Committee.  No Assembly companion.

– REBATING LAW REFORM

S7661 (Seward) – SUPPORT

History: Introduced this session

Bill Purpose:  To modernize the anti-rebating statutes of the Insurance Law, by adding a provision to each statute which requires the imposition of a quid pro quo standard as necessary for the Superintendent to find that a violation of those statute’s prohibitions have occurred.

Status:  In the Senate Insurance Committee.  No Assembly Companion.

NYS rebating law can be confusing—and so acting on a NAIFA-NYS Legislation Committee recommendation, NAIFA-NYS staff drafted a bill to establish a clear standard to help ensure that no agent or insurer runs afoul of NYS requirements.  The NAIFA-NYS bill brings back the original purpose of the state’s anti-rebating statutes, has support from the Senate Insurance Committee Chair, and was a topic of discussion during face-to-face meetings between members and legislators at the recent Albany Day on the Hill.  Next session, we’ll work toward Assembly sponsorship, and we’re optimistic about passage.

– INTERSTATE INSURANCE PRODUCT COMPACT

S3287 (Seward) / A5208 (Simotas)SUPPORT

History:  First introduced in 2008

Bill Purpose: Establishes New York State’s eligibility to become a member of the Interstate Insurance Product Regulation Compact (IIPRC), intended to improve the product approval conditions for life insurance, annuity, disability income, and long-term care products by establishing a single point-of-filing for product review.

Status:  Passed the Senate and delivered to Assembly Insurance Committee

NYS is one of just six states that haven’t joined the Compact—and NAIFA-NYS is working to change that by continuing to support Compact legislation in the Senate.  By creating uniform national standards, the Compact would help to bring new life insurance products to NYS—good news for consumers—but still would let NYS regulators opt out when they think that NYS needs a tougher rule.  We will continue with our industry partners to push for Assembly approval.

– LTCI PERSONAL INCOME TAX CREDIT

S6703 (Golden) / A10088 (Schimminger) – SUPPORT

History:  New this session

Bill Purpose: To provide relief from increased premium costs of Long Term Care Insurance by using the age of the insured as a basis for a tax credit, so that policy holders will be able to afford and retain this important coverage

Status:  S6703 passed the Senate and was delivered to Assembly Ways and Means.  Both the Senate bill and A10088 remained in the Assembly Ways and Means Committee at the end of session.

NAIFA-NYS believes deeply that LTC insurance should be affordable and accessible—and that more should be done to ensure that NYS residents can keep the policies they already have.  Recent dramatic increases in LTC premiums reinforced NAIFA-NYS concerns and prompted the association’s Legislation Committee to throw NAIFA-NYS support behind Sen. Golden’s bill (S6703), which encourages sales and—very importantly—retention of LTC policies.  We worked with Sen. Golden to hold a press conference in his district to publicly announce NAIFA-NYS support.  Scheduling conflicts prevented holding the event, but regardless we advocated for the bill with legislators at NAIFA-NYS local association breakfasts and at the Albany Day on the Hill.  Thanks in part to NAIFA-NYS, S6703 passed the Senate.  We’ll work next session to build Assembly support.     

– EMPLOYER EXEMPTION FROM DISBILITY BENEFITS

S7378 (DeFrancisco) – SUPPORT

History:  New this session

Bill Purpose:  To define “small business employers” in the workman’s compensation law as having less than 50 employees, for the purposes of exemption from the Family Leave Act

Status:  Debated on Senate Floor, laid aside and recommitted to Senate Rules Committee

Small business owners, including many NAIFA-NYS members and their clients, are more vulnerable to economic changes than big companies are—and so NAIFA-NYS agrees with federal officials and other states that think small business exemptions are called for when initiatives disproportionately impact small companies.  NAIFA-NYS has thrown its support behind S7378, which would relieve small firms from NYS Family Leave Act rules that would be burdensome and would hinder job creation and retention.  We will further our support during the next session.

– LONG-TERM HEALTH CARE TAX CREDITS

S6369 (Klein) / A8703 (Gjonaj)SUPPORT

History:  New this session

Bill Purpose:  Establishes tax credits for premiums paid for life insurance which is used for long-term health care

Status:  Passed Senate and Assembly and awaiting delivery to the Governor

NAIFA-NYS pushed for enactment of legislation that would expand the universe of end-of-life care that people can finance by an accelerated death benefit rider to a life insurance policy—and that gives a critical tax credit for buying those riders.  The legislation, which resolves technical difficulties in legislation from 2015, reflects NAIFA-NYS efforts to actively promote sound legislation and regulation of the life insurance and financial planning industry and the consumers it serves.

– REQUIRING CFP DESIGNATIONS FOR ADVISING SENIROS

A3305 (Robinson) – OPPOSED

History:  First introduced in 2009

Bill Purpose: Requires financial planners working with the elderly to be Certified Financial Planners (CFPs)

Status: Assembly Banks Committee

NAIFA-NYS has successfully argued against using an arbitrary designation or unnecessary suitability standard to determine how a producer can work with a senior client.  Each year that the bill has been reintroduced, NAIFA-NYS has reminded lawmakers that under the bill’s provisions, no quality educational credentials other than a CFP would be acceptable—and no other competent practitioners would be allowed to guide, assist, and offer products to many seniors in NYS.     

– COLI FRANCISE TAX

S141 (Diaz) – OPPOSED

History: First introduced in 2009

Bill Purpose: Imposes a 50% tax on New York corporations that receive benefits from life insurance policies obtained on its employees and/or its retirees

Status: in Senate Committee on Investigations and Government Operations

Largely due to NAIFA-NYS efforts, this bill has never made it out of the Senate committee that deals with taxation matters.  We have successfully educated legislators on the importance of Corporate Owned Life Insurance (COLI) to the state’s economy and on the danger that a franchise tax poses.

– FIDUCIARY STANDARDS DISCLOSURE

A6933 (Dinowitz) – OPPOSED

History:  First introduced in 2015

Bill Purpose:  Requires a broker who is not subject to a fiduciary duty, to tell current and prospective clients, both orally and in writing, that:

I am not a fiduciary. Therefore, I am not required to act in your best interests, and am allowed to recommend investments that may earn higher fees for me or my firm, even if those investments may not have the best combination of fees, risks, and expected returns for you.”

Status:  in Assembly Judiciary Committee

NAIFA-NYS was the first industry organization to publicly oppose the bill when introduced in 2015, and our strenuous objections halted the measure.  We again made our position known this session—asserting that the bill’s fiduciary disclosure requirement ultimately would hurt consumers’ ability to effectively save for retirement and was unnecessary to protect existing and potential clients.