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SC Legislative Report: 2021 Session Update

Dozens of insurance bills filed, but only a few will be considered

(published 02/05/21)

The 124th South Carolina General Assembly (2021-2022) is underway. After a month of meeting, dozens of insurance-related bills have been filed but only a few will be considered. The major issues that will consume the majority of legislative time include “Fetal Heartbeat” Abortion, Santee-Cooper Resolution, COVID-19 issues related to financial assistance, vaccine distribution, liability immunity and the state budget.

Follows is a recap of insurance and business-related legislation that IIABSC is currently monitoring.

Active Insurance Legislation

H 3585The DOI’s “Clean-up bill”

  1. Requires insurance carriers to notify the DOI before withdrawing from the state
  2. Upon request, insurance carriers must provide underwriting restrictions on auto or property insurance to DOI
  3. Requires sending notice of Workers’ Compensation cancellation to WC Commission
  4. Changes cancellation/non-renewal notices to 60 days (eliminates 90-day requirement during hurricane season)

Passed the House of Representatives– Now in Senate

H 3586 – Insurance Fraud Investigations
Moves insurance fraud investigation from Attorney General to Department of Insurance; establishes Fraud Investigation Division at DOI; requests $2 million in funding.

Passed the House of Representatives– Now in Senate. House and Senate must approve funding request in state budget.

S 29 - Mandatory Boat Liability Insurance
Requires all watercraft of more than 50 horsepower to have a minimum of $50,000 liability insurance.

Moving through Fish, Game and Forestry Committee

S 501 – Auto Rate Filings
The SC Insurance Association’s top legislative priority allows two annual rate filings for auto insurance. This legislation fell short on the last day of session in 2020.

Moving through Senate Banking and Insurance Committee.

H 3826 – Cancellation and non-renewal of commercial auto insurance
Amends current statute to apply a 60-day notice of cancellation or non-renewal on commercial auto.

Introduced and referred to House Labor, Commerce and Industry Committee.

COVID-19 Legislation

S 147 - COVID-19 Liability Safe Harbor Act
Extends limited immunity from COVID-19 liability to businesses that open and “reasonably adhere to public health guidance.”

Moving through Senate Judiciary Committee.

Tort Reform

H 3700 – Time Limited Settlement Demands (Tyger River)
Legislation creates rules and procedures that must be followed to serve an insurance company with a time-limited demand.

Introduced and referred to the House Judiciary Committee.

H 3750  – Joint and Several Liability
Amends statute to allow allocation of fault based on contribution to the damages.

Introduced and referred to the House Judiciary Committee

COVID-19 Vaccine

DHEC continues to update vaccination delivery for South Carolina residents. As of this writing, SC is currently administering vaccines in Phase 1a.

Insurance industry staff are included in Phase 1c as part of the “other essential workers” group.

Phase 1c (Late Spring 2021)

All time estimates are subject to change due to vaccine availability, demand, and provider participation.

Phase 1c includes:

  • People aged 16 and older with certain underlying health conditions that puts them at high risk for severe disease (list by CDC)
  • Other essential workers . Examples included by ACIP: people who work in transportation and logistics, food service, housing construction and finance, information technology, communications, energy, law, media, public safety, and public health staff who are non-frontline healthcare workers.
  • Estimated Population of Phase 1c: 2,588,320