Minimum commission bill for insurance agents stalls
By JIM WALLS
March 14, 2016 — A Senate committee took no action today on a bill to guarantee insurance agents a minimum commission for selling health coverage to small businesses.
The bill — championed by House Rules Chairman John Meadows — was highlighted Sunday by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution as a prime example of a bill that would benefit its legislative backers. Meadows is a Calhoun insurance agent.
Today’s inaction might also have been meant to nudge the House to take up more Senate bills in the final days of the 2016 session. Meadows’ committee decides what bills will go to the full House; Senate Rules chair Jeff Mullis last week ripped up a list of House committee members with a flourish as he bemoaned the House’s apparent lack of urgency.
The bill would require a minimum 5 percent commission on sales of group plans and 4 percent on individual plans if the agent provides ongoing service to the customer. For group plans, it would apply only to clients with 50 employees or less.
The Senate Insurance Committee heard a brief presentation of the bill this afternoon from Rep. Shaw Blackmon, the titular sponsor. Then, nothing happened.
Four of the eight committee members present — David Shafer, Marty Harbin, Burt Jones and Larry Walker III — recused themselves from the committee vote because they hold insurance licenses.
Then, the other four members sat looking at each other when committee Chairman Charlie Bethel called for a motion.
The meeting adjourned, but committee chair Charlie Bethel said another meeting may be scheduled Wednesday.