2023 Regular Session
By: Senator(s) Michel, McLendon, Thomas, Williams
AN ACT TO PROVIDE FOR THE SALE, ISSUANCE AND RENEWAL OF PET INSURANCE POLICIES; TO PROVIDE FOR THE PURPOSE OF THE ACT; TO PROVIDE RELEVANT DEFINITIONS; TO REQUIRE PET INSURANCE PROVIDERS TO DISCLOSE CERTAIN POLICY EXCLUSIONS AND LIMITATIONS TO CONSUMERS; TO ALLOW ANY PERSON AUTHORIZED IN A MAJOR LINE OF AUTHORITY AND APPOINTED BY A PET INSURER TO SELL, SOLICIT OR NEGOTIATE A PET INSURANCE PRODUCT; TO PROVIDE THAT THE COMMISSIONER OF INSURANCE MAY ESTABLISH TRAINING REQUIREMENTS FOR INSURANCE PROVIDERS SELLING PET INSURANCE; TO PROVIDE THAT THE COMMISSIONER MAY ISSUE RULES AND REGULATIONS TO IMPLEMENT AND ADMINISTER THE PROVISIONS OF THIS ACT; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. The Legislature finds that:
The purpose of this act is to promote the public welfare by creating a comprehensive legal framework within which pet insurance may be sold in this state. These provisions shall apply to pet insurance policies that are issued to any resident of this state and that are sold, solicited, negotiated or offered in this state and policies or certificates that are delivered or issued for delivery in this state. All other applicable provisions of this state's insurance laws shall continue to apply to pet insurance.
SECTION 2. Definitions. For purposes of this act, the following terms shall have the meanings ascribed herein:
(a) "Chronic condition" means a condition that can be treated or managed, but not cured.
(b) "Congenital anomaly or disorder" means a condition that is present from birth, whether inherited or caused by the environment, which may cause or contribute to illness or disease.
(c) "Hereditary disorder" means an abnormality that is genetically transmitted from parent to offspring and may cause illness or disease.
(d) "Pet insurance" means a property insurance policy that provides coverage for accidents and illnesses of pets.
(e) "Preexisting condition" means any condition for which any of the following are true prior to the effective date of a pet insurance policy or during any waiting period:
(i) A veterinarian-provided medical advice;
(ii) The pet received previous treatment; or
(iii) Based on information from verifiable sources, the pet had signs or symptoms directly related to the condition for which a claim is being made.
A condition for which coverage is afforded on a policy cannot be considered a preexisting condition on any renewal of the policy.
(f) "Renewal" means to issue and deliver at the end of an insurance policy period a policy which supersedes a policy previously issued and delivered by the same pet insurer or affiliated pet insurer and which provides types and limits of coverage substantially similar to those contained in the policy being superseded.
(g) "Wellness program" means a subscription or reimbursement-based program that is separate from an insurance policy that provides goods and services to promote the general health, safety, or well-being of the pet. Any wellness program that meets the definition of insurance as provided in Section 83-5-5, shall be considered insurance and shall be subject to the insurance code. This definition is not intended to classify a contract directly between a service provider and a pet owner that only involves the two (2) parties as being "the business of insurance," unless other indications of insurance also exist.
SECTION 3. Disclosures. A pet insurer transacting pet insurance shall disclose, at a minimum, the following to consumers:
(a) If the policy excludes coverage due to any of the following:
(i) A preexisting condition;
(ii) A hereditary disorder;
(iii) A congenital anomaly or disorder; or
(iv) A chronic condition;
(b) If the policy includes any other exclusions, the following statement: "Other exclusions may apply. Please refer to the exclusions section of the policy for more information";
(c) Whether any policy provision that limits coverage through a waiting or affiliation period, a deductible, coinsurance or an annual or lifetime policy limit;
(d) Whether the pet insurer reduces coverage or increases premiums based on the insured's claim history, the age of the covered pet or a change in the geographic location of the insured; and
(e) If the underwriting company differs from the brand name used to market and sell the product.
SECTION 4. Insurance producer training. (1) Any person licensed in a major line of authority and appointed by a pet insurer may be authorized to sell, solicit or negotiate a pet insurance product.
(2) The commissioner may establish training requirements for insurance producers selling pet insurance to ensure that producers have been appropriately trained on the coverages and conditions of its pet insurance products.
(3) The satisfaction of the training requirements of another state that the commissioner determines are substantially similar to the provisions established under subsection (2) of this section shall be deemed to satisfy the training requirement provisions of this state.
SECTION 5. The commissioner may issue rules and regulations to implement and administer the provisions of this act, including, but not limited to, rules and regulations establishing (a) policy disclosures; (b) policy conditions; (c) sales practices for selling wellness programs, and (d) penalties for violations of any law or regulations regarding the sale of pet insurance.
SECTION 6. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2023.