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Legislature Passes Portable Electronics Insurance Bill

Senate Bill 52 protects consumers’ rights while creating a regulatory structure

JUNEAU-Today, the Alaska State Legislature passed legislation to regulate the portable electronics insurance market while providing significant consumer protections.   Senate Bill 52, sponsored by Senator Coghill, R-North Pole, creates a licensing system for retailers who sell portable electronic devices and insurance, defines disclosure requirements regarding insurance coverage, and requires training for salespeople offering the insurance.

“Right now, we have a chaotic market for portable electronic insurance because customers buy the insurance at the same time they buy the electronic devices from retailers who are not usually in the insurance business,” said Senator Coghill.  “Senate Bill 52 strikes an effective balance between the interests of consumers and industry by creating a regulatory structure and requiring full disclosure.”

Senate Bill 52 lists the materials that must be presented to the consumer in writing, defines the procedure for changing the terms of the insurance, specifies what’s needed to terminate the insurance, and clarifies the types of devices that can be covered under portable electronics.   Under Senate Bill 52, the Director of the Division of Insurance can issue a limited producer license that covers a retailer and all its employees within Alaska.  

“Portable electronics are becoming more and more a part of our lives and it is imperative we make sure the same consumer protections apply to the insurance of these critical lifelines as any other products that are insured,” said Senator Coghill.

“Whether it’s a cell phone, a tablet, or a laptop computer, chances are that electronic device is critical part of your lifestyle,” said Senator Coghill.  “That’s why it is important for us to make sure these insurance policies are reputable and serve the best interests of Alaskans.”

Similar legislation has been enacted in 43 other states. 

Senate Bill 52 now heads to Governor Sean Parnell for his signature.  If signed, the law will take effect on January 1, 2014.  

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