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House | May 7, 2015 | Committee Room | Finance Committee

Full MP3 Audio File

If you need to continue conversations please leave the room, the first order of business will be to introduce the pages and will the pages please stand and introduce yourselves quickly please, and also announce the Representative who's your sponsor. Thank you very much for your service, our sergeant at arms steps today [xxx] [xxx]. Thank you and today, other chairman, Representative Zulker is under the weather so representative Browly and I will fill in and help him out a little bit. Let's see the first bill is a house bill 182 and there's a PCS if we could have, did you get that? You moved it to PCS to be in front us, Yes With unanimous consent, the PCS is properly before the committee, if there's no objection the bill is before us. The honorable Representative Mills. Thank you Mr Chairman, and ladies and gentlemen of the committee here. The bill before you today is a targeted measured aim to positively reform the way that our State goes about property insurance coverage. This bill has been formed over a course of time with all stakeholders at the table,  consumer advocates, the department of insurance as well as the insurance industry, by the P. C. S that you have before you has some clarifying changes that the insurance industry has brought forth further [xx] the bill. Today what I'll actually go over really briefly in the finance committee is the bonding piece, we had a pretty healthy debate in the insurance committee on the overall reaching intent other legislation other, I'm more than happy to rehearse that with you guys today but in lighter gravity I'll go over section 2 which the bonding authority piece and what the intent of this language is that has actually been drafted over a course of time with a policy experts from actual bond councils as well as in the coordination with the North Carolina Insurance Underwriter's Association as well as our staff here at the General Assembly is the intent of this is to provide another tool for the Coastal Property Insurance Pool that could positively fake rates in a lowering manner for all of North Carolina policy holders by actually lowering the risk, the exposure that we all have as policy holders if there would be a huge catastrophic event or multiple catastrophic events as all of our policy holders will be assessed as you move down the insurance tower in an event of that nature as well as the industry has an assessment risk of $1 billion associated with that. So this tool of allowing a bond authority to issue bonds to cover a catastrophic event could give us an opportunity to provide more surplus so that we can cover a major and catastrophic event as well as multiple catastrophic events. We are not mandating that re-insurance not be purchased, we're just providing another tool as the bonds market and the re-insurance market can compete in a manner that would positively affect all of our policy holders. More than happy to discuss in detail, each and every aspect of this bonding authority but just know that there's no tie to the full faith and credit of the state. This has been drafted in a way where it's the independent authority by all means it stands on its own and I'm more than happy to answer questions and concerns that you may have. Thank you Mr Chairman Rep Mills, are you prepared to have the amendment can hold now Yes Sir Mr Chairman, we have a technical amendment that has been brought up by staff, I believe that Representative Juan Representative Juan is recognized Thank you. I'd like to at this time submit an amendment, to the bill, have a look of plans to a friendly amendment Without objection, the amendment is properly before us those in favour say aye. Any discussion? Yes Mr. Chairman, Could the amendment be discussed briefly? I just said any discussion and you're recognized Sir if you have a question. I just, Representative will explain his amendment please. Excuse me I meant to say the Chair is recognized not I Miss Chair, with the Chair's permission, we would like [xx] to explain the amendment. Good morning. My name is [xx], Research division. The bill when it was written had some [xx] language

in there [xx] is basically trying to establish the tax exception for interest from the bond, but it's some very old language, it talks about inheritance taxes which we don't have any more, gift taxes which we don't have any more And because this bonds are issued by this authority which looks like it's a state entity anyway, the interest on the bonds would probably be practised under general law without any discussions. But to just to [xx] suspenders approach, what the memo does as it removes the archaic language that talks about tax types that we don't even have any more, and it puts in a cross reference to the 2 provisions in chapter 105 that create the income tax deduction from the interest on state bonds from individual income tax and corporate income tax. So it basically places this authority bonds on the same putting as any other state or local bonds would be on so that the interest income from the bonds would be tax exempt. And so again it's just removing kind of archaic language, and moving towards a cross reference to the general law that will apply anyway to make the interest tax exempted. Thank you. Any further comments of questions from the committee? Seeing none those in favor will say aye? Those opposed no? In the opinion of the Chair the ayes have it, and Representative Millis do you need to continue or open it up for you are ready to open to open up a questions. Any further question? Yes, the honorable J Adams On the bill to correct when I'm talking about the bill this meachants uses the term catastrophe, I'm wondering do we have the proper definition of catastrophe rather than the state of emergency for instance. And to follow that hurricanes can assure to hurricanes and rapidly diminish into tropical into storms, so I will be interested in knowing at what point do we, how does that affect this because we have hurricanes into the mountains that is a catastrophe. Mr. Chair due mind we start the interest question of do you recognize after you take a stand I will be more than happy to follow. That would be an order sir, there is a definition in the PCS in the bill for deficit of that and if you're talking about the burns that really is the key moment when the, what triggers the issue once the potential issue once it burns, as if the existing phones from the surplus of authority to the billion dollars contribution to the insurance companies and any other source of funds, if that wont cover the loss then you get to the staff and that so it is not the type of storm that is the fact that you just don't have the money to pay claims that doesn't. I also recognize as with representative Adams I will not come across this being a privileged expert on the subject but has been working on this bill for the last 18 months, it is my understanding in the aspects of insurance coverage of a catastrophe or we are talking about language that is understood within the actual frame work of the insurance commissioner in the public insurance this property re-insurance form, this is all kind of language that if an advance would occur like hard thing could be downgraded to apply to the portion and aspects of that is enacted by mother nature all into actual properties that would trigger aspects of insurance coverage it would be the aspects of a catastrophe and I do not think it depends anything about any aspects of the declared state of emergency. Follow up? follow up. Yes, how would this be applied or would this be applied in the event of a foul fire? That is a question that I would be happy to ask staff, I know we're in the Finance Committee and I don't know if they have the ability to speak about the insurance aspects, but are more than happy to reason about that. Well I think I would give the same answer, it really triggers own running out of money, and they are people in the in the back but they are from the industry who might have a more detailed answer to this, but when I read the bill I thought it was really based on your inability to pay claims and it doesn't matter so much how you got there. You've been recognized. T He language in Michen coastal and several places, I would just prefer to

see a clear understanding that this is about catastrophes whatever form, we haven't had an earthquake, but whatever. Representative Adams at this point are you prepared to send forth an amendment, or all these general comments, and please let me know when you're satisfied and I'll move on to another member. These are general comments I mean on the floor. OK, thank you sir. You're recognized. Just real quick, now understanding where your questions are coming from be lucidly clear this bonding authority we're draining to the North Carolina Insurance Underwriters Association by way of what the General Assembly has created a past but we have a coastal property insurance pool. So again this is an entity that's already been created by the General Assembly that if a catastophic it occurs and whatever is run out of the surplus whatever is assessed by billion dollars of the industry it then comes to all policy holders to actually asses the coverage of whatever is left as the liability risk is not able to be covered by any types of monies on hand through the insurance tower therefore this bonding authority is persistent to covering the ability for the coastal property insurance pool. They use this tool in addition to reinsurance, in addition to the surplus, so this is a tool that's persistent to that but this positively affects all policy holders as it lowers the risk of insurers to write across the state because it lessens the ability for the one billion dollar assessment to hit as well as all of our constituent from east to west to be assessed at a catastrophic event. So that's the reason why those coastal [xx] are in there but again this positively affects all as we even go further into your district, Representative. The honorable Rep. Collins is recognized. Thank you Mr. Chair president Millers I just want to make sure I understand kind of the whole in which the order of funds that we attach in order to pay the claim and if I'm wrong please correct I think right now what happens is we use surplus first then whatever reinsurance we have and then the companies get attached like up to a billion dollars something like that, will the bonding come in third place now or fourth place, what does it feel to get into that hierarchy of where the payments come from. It is my firm understanding that the same place of the tower with the reinsurance hits and this too is also available to basically the insurance to the assessed a billion in the policy holders which are constituenced to be assed as well, so that shows it is going to be an eagle footing with the reinsurance aspects The honorable Representative Hager. Thank you Mr Chairman I just want make the motions proper time Mr Chairman. And Representative Stam you're recognized I wish I knew more about insurance but just some thoughts of if this is "catastrophic" event as we typically think about it. First of all, the federal government if it's Katrina they're going to spend trillions and 9-11 they will spend trillions and we have Hurricane Floyd or what was the other one with the F? Fran and Floyd. The state came in and spent an extra several 100, 000, so that's there, but normally I thought in insurance you like pay pat premiums up front rather than in arrears but this appear to be for vets that are predictable that they will happen you just don't know how when and how severe, but it looks like they are being paid for by bonds over the subsequent 40 years. It doesn't seem to fit with insurance Great question. Let me give the example of what I understand is the current lay of the land say for instance this catastrophic event or multiple catastrophic events come and it's a $4 billion storm right now by way of surplus will say there is $1 billion so there is a $3 billion gap that is currently being covered all by reinsurance to cover that liability and to pay for that reinsurance at every given year we're paying for each year the storm doesn't hit and this moneys go away from what could be added to the surplus, this actual cost of property insurance pool has paid over a billion dollars every six years to reinsurance that could have wait they have two billion dollars in the surplus. This is just a tool long side of reinsurance, that cover the aspect of the liability risk there are

no premiers that says, for everyone here, where it goes if it's going to cost property insurance pool or not. In order to cover what would be the major, multiple, catastrophic events. This is just a lower risk, lower exposure and prefer the option for lower rates. About this bonding tool, other states have done it Texas, Florida. We are not mending the reinsurance not be purchase, but this tool may allow  us to have a greater surplus to actually get to the front end as you're speaking about, instead of actually having us waited to the rear end by way of re-insurance cost I'm pondering. If I could follow up, it just seems to me if you put the payment in the 40 years subsequent to the event, then there are going to be catastrophes in those 40 years as well, and if you're still paying for that in the past, your sort of putting yourself in bind. That's understood, but understand right now the current policy is that we are paying each and every year for the coverage of reinsurance when the storm doesn't hit this allows us to have a tool that could allow more to be to a surplus to build up so it's all covered on the front end, right now we can't leave self exposed, as bonding authority is a backup that in case something were to happen as we build the surplus, so we're trying to get to the principle that thinking of, so we're actually trying to actually polish what's already existing statue manner to be a tool long side of reinsurance, so I agree with your assessment on what we hope the future to be but currently it's worse if we don't pass this bonding authority. This bonding authority allows to get to a better position of what you're actually articulating of representative Stan. The chair believes representative Mills was next in line. Thank you Mr. Chair, representative Mills I just like to hear your rationale for why it is necessary to create a whole new agency of state government in order to administer this. Very good question, this is not a creation of any new bureaucracy, this aspect of a bonding authority is actually going to be held by the way of their members at call of the commissioner wherever a catastrophic event is going to happen, this is housed under the department and it is a tether of what is currently the North Carolina insurance under right association. There's no new bureaucracy created. The Chair is going to step out of order and recognize the senior Chair Representative Brownley, and then I'll get to the other members you're in que.  Thank you Mr. Chairman, Representative Millers I appreciate your attempt to dig into something that is got to be one of the most convoluted  subjects but I think I understand, and I want to check my understanding with you. Currently we are selling insurance to property owners around the State. In addition to this there's an additional risk pool that is to indemnify the insurance companies against a major storm. Primarily hurricanes but not necessarily just hurricanes. Since that, since the one in a hundred storm which seems to be, could occur at any time would overly deplete that fund. The fund is purchasing reinsurance, which would only kick in for a major catastrophic convert and the premiums over the last few years have been approximately $1 billion during a period which the reinsurance has not been needed. The purpose of this bonding authority is to allow the ensures to reduce the amount of the reinsurance carriage they have to protect against being bankrupted by major event. If such an event occur the bonding authority will be used in place of a lot of re-insurance to pay the excess claims. If it is not needed the premium save of not purchasing re-insurance we add to the risk pool reserve and their by reduced overtime they need even to use the boding authorities by allowing reserves which that had been depleted by a couple of phenomenal storms to be replenish we thought raising rates above there current levels is that essentially what we're trying to do here. Representative Bradly as a

senior finance chair you're showing your stripes that's exactly what's going on everything you share to the Tee is the reason the need in the structure for this everything you said is 100% correct. Follow up. Next in line I think we had Representative Lukey. The chair recognizes representative Lukey. Thank you Mr Chair chairman I had two question first representative Millers on the recovery finance authority has this been discussed by the department of insurance and you know that the department of insurance support this. Representative Ruckey Las Vegas legislation has been vetted by the department of insurance this bonding piece specifically as well in addition it has also been signed off by the treasury office well as they're fine with the actual drafting this legislation in the movement we're going but more than happy to recognize them if the chair desires to speak on that if the need be. I would just stand on this chair, if anyone from this organisation wishes to be heard, that would be helpful, but otherwise I here represent Millis and don't feel the need myself to ask that, but I did want to follow up on the second topic. No one has mentioned so far the whole issue with consent to rate and its called, here in part three, its called reformed, so I wonder if you or staff can explain how we have actually reformed this, because many of my constituency are concerned about this so called consent to rate? That's right. A very good question and while that we are focusing our aspects on the finance committee more than happy to discuss that aspect as you from your constituent right now there is a little of wavering of what individuals are actually conceding to what is the time frame how much they consenting to once they get out of the maximum allowable rate as established by the insurance commissioner, if this is to pass into law it will establish the fact that if the insure is asking a policy holder to consent to a rate higher than what is maximum allowed by the commissioner that they were actually courtfying in law all the disclosure of what they were consenting to and actually making ensure that the actual ensure has 30 days to receive this from the policy holder so actually given a time frame so it's not just a rush of a hard 10 days and policies actually cancelled so that actually requires a wet ink can send by the policy holder that they have proper disclosure of what they are concerning to and there was a tight fence around the amount they are going to be charged in addition to further reform it if the actual ensure word to increase rates beyond the what the original CTR would be on the renewal there is going to be cataflied in statute disclosure that your constituent the policy holder will know exactly on that renewal what they are actually paying whenever they can send by way of their payment to another renewal of that policies so we believe there is proper balance for the consumer to know what they are actually conceding to and actually have a proper frame work to avoid cancellation and to have a little more cataflied in statute fence around what's going on. Thank you sir, Representative Robinson  Follow up Representative Rucky, it is probably best other members who have not had chance to speak before I'd respect of you and other members Representative Robinson. Yes thank very much and like Representative Stem I wish I understood insurance better, but with this new North Carolina recovery fund men authority do they manage these funds and are they invested or this money in this pool exactly how is it managed? The actual money and the Coastal Property Insurance Pool is already statute already cut of file law that already exist in an overseen body actional insurance on rodge association on by my knowledge. This tool by the way it is bonding authority is something that is additional to be able to actually cover as what has been expressed by Representative Brawley, in the event of a catastrophe. So in regards to the management, this authority is not going to manage any of these funds, it's just set up as an authority by a way of the issuances of bonds, by way of these boards in appointments, at the time of a catastrophic event. But no management of the funds, all that is existing law. Representative Jones. Thank you Mr. Chairman representative representative

Mileysir I just want to commend for my understanding and this sounds brilliant and I say I want to join you in commending a Chairman Bowery and his ability to articulate and in line terms that I think will be extremely helpful for many others. My question is the way North Carolina very much come up with this brilliant plan or the other states that ares doing something that we see some results a comfromant is it something that we are modelling or is it reality renew of territory could you speak to that. This is told that has been layed down by other states for the green their from the from other states I have done, this is not a new idea by way of myself or any aspect of the industry this state has lead on we are looking basically to have this tool and trying to further allow for low charged rates to be read in the process by reducing thank you Mr. Chair, and I do want to commend Bill's portentous living eastern 95 for all of my life, been in hurricane Eli, any chance that we get to try low the rates for those home owners property owners out there starting to be commanded, thank you again. Representative Stam yeah it will be short. Seems to me the way to do this is put more money in the rainy day reserves as of rainy day a 1000 years ago before that the king could not change the waves and the tides, we cannot change when the risk happens. The risk is now it just seems to me I hope before the floor somebody can explain to me why putting payment for the risk after the catastrophe is insurance. To follow up right now the payment for the risk of what the exposure is beyond the premiums is being paid each year not going to surplus, not going to the front end by the way of reinsurance, this tool helps it to get better with, however your view of King Canute or whatever you say it is, so this should be positive in what you're looking for. And as a courtesy the Chair would offer Representative Luebke his final question and then we're going to recognize Representative Hager for a motion and then put the question. Thank you Mr chairman I wanted to follow up with Representative Millers is this, a lot of my constituency are upset that they get this consent to raid they've basically said to you basically from the insurance company perspective are aware the highway, if you don't like what we are giving to you, you can find another insurance company, is that process still there? Or you are saying the companies can no longer do that? by way of this reform, it gives your constituency the ability to have a month to actually fully understand by way of this qualified enclosure if they do consider what they are concerning to and what they are concering to behind this emissional signature so it does intetionally reform it on behave of the consumer but on away that it drop a red tape for the industry as well by way of having disclosure on future we know as well so we formally believe this is a positive reform on behave of consumer advocate. Thank you Representative Heigan. Thank you Mr. Chairman its a short comment not knowing the folks in the cost affected by this bilateral understanding that we have down to the west North Carolina has been five plus class seismic earthquake in last century so we hopefully we wont have that issue by some years to say representative Nelson Mr. Chairman for a motion if he pleases. That's in order. And hopefully I get this right, I want to mention for a favorable for the PCS on the house bill 182 as amended I think we're going to role into a new PCS is that correct? And favorable to original. You've all heard the motion, those in favor say, aye. Aye. Those oppose no. In the opinion of  the Chair, the ayes have it. The Bill moves forward, actually the PCS moves forward. Next House Bill 289, North Carolina Money Transmitters, that

would be Representative Boles. Thank you Mr. Chairman. Members, this bill comes to us through the office of the North Carolina Commissioner of Banks Under current law in North Carolina, the Money Transmitter Act was brought in play in 2001. It regulates non-bank companies that engage in the business of transmitting funds. The activity is also regulated both by federal laws and also the laws of 48 States, and among the reasons for regulating the industry are to prevent money laundering, financing of terrorism and to protect consumers from the risk that the money transfer business will deliver as agreed. Right now in North Carolina there are about 96 money transmitters. Examples of traditional money transmitters are Western Union,  MoneyGram and over the past few years we've had online payment systems such as PayPal and Amazon. Representative ross.yes.if I may, are do you know of any opposition on this committee to the bill? None. If the chair so would it please you to recognize representative Jitter for a motion? Sure OK always a pressure representative Jetter. Move federal report. Seconded by further discussion further debate being none those in favour say aye those oppose no in the opinion of the chair the ayes have it and house bill 289 moves forward. Thank you Mr. Chairman I'd have to be easiest, but have done yet. You are very efficient sir. House bill 430, county omni bus legislation Representative Mackelraf. Yes madam. no madam. If there is an amendment yes. I'm assuming a member will let us know. Okay okay. Thank you. We're going to have a PCS okay. You're recognized. Thank you Mr Chair, members of the. This is the county county omni best legislation that we passed [xx] and this is their legislative agenda and there's four sections here and I will briefly go over each section, then if you have questions I will be happy to answer them. Am, the first action, actually there's three studies and then a cralification, the first one os the study of state payment in rule of taxes, study commission and this was actually set up this committee last millennium. We set up our side of the commission on the House side, the Senate failed to set up theirs. So we're trying to do this again and this actually has to do with, when the state takes county property over and it's no longer taxable for the county on property tax. The counties are really suffering like my poor little Jones County, which is one of the poorest counties. They actually have a lot of D. O. T take over property because they do wet land mitigation and the're other things So that takes a lot of property off the tax roll when the state takes it over, so that's what that study is about. And then section II directs the Environmental Review Commission to study statewide funding and programmes for aquatic not just weeds, and that's the weeds that are in, like the hydrilla devil in the lakes across the state in the empty all state that's usually empty or impact state water because the [xx] that gets on the boat it goes from like to liked to water of the state. So that's another study. Then Section Three directs the Revenue Laws commission to study the impact of local government of exempting previously taxable properties from the property tax base, when they are required by non-profit, and actually Representative Collins asked that churches be exempt from this in our last meeting, so

we'll probably have that amendment on the floor. But this is, let me just kind of explain what county explained to me. The County Association explained This is when you have your big hospitals coming in, and buying previously taxed, on the tax roles of your county's previously, private, doctor's offices, medical centers, they come and buy them up, so they're only tax rolled, and then all of a sudden they become part of the non profit, they are not taxed any more. So then what do you do if you're in the middle, and you don't have time to re-valuate, you have to raise taxes on everybody else? if it's in order to help you out, I think we have a member who's prepared to make a motion if you're prepared, and Representative Carney? Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I move for a favorable report for the Committee Substitute unfavorable to the, this isn't a PCS is it? No. Excuse me, unfavorable for House Bill 430. Representative Szoka who is not feeling well, seconds. You've all heard the motion. Mr. Chairman. Further discussion, further debate. Hate to slow up the adjournment of the committee, but I would like staff to explain the importance of the new paragraph on page 3 of the bill from lines 30-44, why do we need that? Do counties not have the existing authority to do this? What's the importance of adding this section? In the opinion of the Chair, your request is in order. Section 4? It's in Section 4, it's on page 3 of the bill from lines 30-44. You can't[sp?] [xx] Why do we need this? Is the question for staff. Well, as you alluded to counties currently have authority to impose a fee for solid waste collection and disposal, but there is not specific authority with regard to recycling programs, and I think a question was raised in, I believe it was in Orange County, and so this gives express fee authority to operate a residential recycling collection program. Mr. Chairman. May I just, most counties are already doing this and no problem because it was actually, well they felt in the statutes, solid waste statutes, but this is just to clarify that, that was the clarifying section that I was talking about. Mr Chair. Representative Stam. In popular government Mr[sp?] Allison, there is an article about Charles D. Liner's Most Regressive Taxes in North Carolina, and he uses these as an example of some of the worst of the worst, so since we're not doing things here in committee I just might save that for the floor to look at that, and I would encourage people to get that article I'm sure it's online, Popular, the School of Government, popular called North Carolina's Most Regressive Taxes. Well, the Chair does not want move forward too quickly until everybody has had a chance to either ask a question or comment. If you're prepared to send forth an amendment or address it here, you're welcome Sir. May I just respond to that? You're recognized, yes the member is recognized. Representative Stam, if these are already part of your solid waste fees in most counties, it's not an additional tax. It's just that some people are complaining that they're, the part of their solid waste fee is recycling and it's usually all lumped together, it's not separated out. So, this is not an additional tax at all. OK OK I'll save it for the floor. Yes sir we do have a request from one member of the public to speak and if you would step forward and identify yourself and [xxx] please?  Thank you Mr. Chairman. I'm Joanna Reese with the association of county commissioners and we had the same question Representative Luebke had why is it necessary, this is authority we believed, that counties believed they already have when their program was originally set up, similar to your solid waste collection you pay a fee for that, this is adding a recycling to it, there was one particular resident of Orange County who just didn't want pay a recycling fee and challenge looked at the statute and challenged it, and consensus was maybe the language is a little squishy as far as the authority to charge a fee, but it's just like you're paying for your solid waste collection, you're paying for your recycling fee collection and so our request from counties and from from the association just to fix the statutes so it is abundantly clear that counties have

the authority to charge a fee for collecting your recycling which done by many local governments across the state, thank you. And it's not the intend of the Chair to cut off any debate, we're just trying to move efficiently. Mr. Chairman, I have a question for the lady. You're recognized sir. By any chance Representative Meyer that Property Rights Activist that challenged your fee. I'm not aware that he was Sir. Mr. Chairman. You're recognized Sir? Sometimes I'm proud of the ability of Orange County residents to make an impact on state governments, I'm not sure if this is one of those days or not. Noted. Further discussion further debate? Hearing none, or hearing no request, those in favor would say aye? Those opposed no? The opinion of the Chair the ayes have it, the bill moves successfully forward. Thank you. Any further business this from the committee members or the staff, we have one final issue to take care of before the comedy leaves, the chair along with permitted committees permission and approval we'll be referring House Bill 386, hot meals, spring late, settle like annexations to the annexations sub committee, any other business from the staff or the members? Mr. Chairman  There is a finance committee meeting Tuesday at 8:30, is that correct Representative Brownley? And one more question from Representative Moore. Mr. Chairman, very quickly, I notice bill 912 will have been pulled from the agenda or it wasn't in packet. Is there any reason why it was on the day's calendar, that you can. The chair is not aware of that reason, maybe the staff would be or representative Brownley. Yeah, thank you Mr. Chairman, it was puled to request  the sponsor due to some questions raise by, I think it was the department of revenue, you tell him that the chair key tax bill yeah, that was it, just to make sure that it's completely in order before we waste the committee's time. If there's no further business, the committee is adjourned, thank you.