The territory will have a new regulatory framework for selling insurance protection for portable consumer electronics like cell phones if a bill approved by the Government Services and Housing Committee Wednesday becomes law.
Paul Fassbender, an official with Asurion, a seller of portable electronics insurance in the territory, testified in support of the bill, as did V.I. Director of Banking and Insurance John McDonald.
Both testified that the bill creates a regulatory framework for an insurance product that is already sold in the territory, where previously the law was silent.
"Currently, there is no statutory regulatory structure that exists for the sale of this product in the territory," Fassbender said. The bill would require a business-level license limited to the specific authorized lines of insurance the business provides. The bill is "consistent with the treatment of this product in the United States and codifies consumer protections and disclosures," Fassbender said.
Similar legislation "has been enacted into law in 46 states and the District of Columbia," he said.
The measure generated no controversy or opposition.
"I don’t see any downside to this," said Sen. Judi Buckley.
"Christmas is coming," said Sen. Donald Cole, going on to say that it would be helpful to pass the legislation now, before large amounts of consumer electronics are purchased for the holiday.
"Forty-six states have this law, so we will be getting with the times" by putting in this widely accepted regulatory approach, Sen. Diane Capehart said.
Voting to send the bill on to the Rules and Judiciary Committee for further consideration were: Buckley, Capehart, Cole, Sens. Craig Barshinger, Clifford Graham and Terrence "Positive" Nelson. Sen. Alicia "Chucky" Hansen was absent. If the measure is approved in Rules, it will then proceed to the full Senate for a final up or down vote.