Lawmakers Return to Saint Paul – AASP-MN Drafts Updated Legislation

by Sam Richie & Shannon K. Mitchell, AASP-MN Lobbyists

The 2024 legislative session is in full swing.

This is the second year of the two-year biennium, meaning the legislators are the same, and the DFL controls the House of Representatives, Senate and Governor’s office. With the budget set in odd-numbered years, traditionally even-numbered years focus on a bonding or Capital Investment bill for state infrastructure projects. There will also be legislation aimed to tweak larger bills from last year, such as legalized cannabis and policy-focused legislation. The economic forecast, while positive, predicts structural deficits starting in 2026. Any supplemental spending will be done cautiously, and the Senate Tax Chair has publicly stated there will be no new taxes coming out of her committee, so the opportunity to generate additional funds via taxes does not appear likely either. 

Within that broader context, specific issues that AASP-MN will be tracking include developments in the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) within the insurance industry, any additional changes to the Right to Repair legislation that was passed last year but excluded automobiles, workforce development initiatives, relevant electric vehicle provisions and any opportunities to support lower property tax rates for member businesses.

Along with monitoring and weighing in on proposed legislation, AASP-MN will also be introducing legislation to improve the Regulations of Claims Act: Minnesota Statute 72A.201. AASP-MN’s proposed changes include clarifying and elevating a number of provisions that already exist in other areas of the law. The draft bill language also includes several more substantive changes:

  Improves and clarifies estimating settlements on total loss vehicles by directing insurers to average two estimates from reliable sources and factor in shipping if a similar vehicle is not available locally;

  Requires that reinspection occur within three days when the damage is in dispute rather than the current vague language requiring this reinspection to occur “promptly”;

  Requires the insurer to notify the insured as to why they are not fully covering the repairs to the vehicle if there is a dispute between the insurer and repair facility;

  Directs insurers to approve or deny claims, in part or full, within three days;

  Prohibits using the supplemental process to delay settlement or seriously underpay the cost to repair the vehicle.

These proposed changes are the result of ongoing member engagement and feedback, which we sincerely appreciate. The large majority of the changes draw from and clarify existing statutes to provide additional safeguards and clarity for all involved in the repair process. The overarching goal is that passing these provisions into law will improve communication between insurers and the insured as to why seemingly necessary repairs are not being covered in full, or at all. 

While lawmakers only just returned to the Capitol in mid-February, the constitutional adjournment date does not change so they only have until May 20 to complete their work for the year. As such, committee deadlines are more condensed than normal, with March 22 acting as both the first and second committee deadline, meaning bills must receive a hearing by then to remain in consideration for 2024. 

AASP-MN will update members as our legislation moves through the committee process and will reach out with opportunities for you to weigh in on this bill, as well as other key legislation as it arises. 

Want more? Check out the March 2024 issue of AASP-MN News!