The Ohio Legislature recently enacted Ohio Senate Bill 169 (“Ohio Act” or “Act”),1 making Ohio the most recent of more than forty states to adopt a version of the National Conference of Insurance Legislators (NCOIL) Limited Lines Travel Insurance Model Act, which governs licensing requirements for Travel Insurance (as defined in the Act).2 This Act provides requirements not only for those in the Travel Insurance Industry, but all travel industry participants, such as travel agencies, tour operators and cruise lines, that offer travel insurance along with their travel services. The Ohio Act will become effective on March 22, 2018. The full text of the enacted bill is available here.
It is important to note that the Ohio Act contains state-specific differences from the NCOIL Model Act. As a result, travel industry participants should consult counsel to obtain advice regarding state-specific variations.
Under the Ohio Act, travel retailers may offer and disseminate travel insurance in conjunction with the making, arranging, or offering of travel services by operating under the license of a business entity limited lines travel insurance agent, so long as the agent designates one of the agent’s employees who is licensed as an insurance agent to be responsible for the business entity’s compliance with applicable travel insurance laws. However, the acts that may be performed by a travel retailer under the Ohio Act are limited. Further, the Ohio Act provides additional requirements, such as a training program and specific information and disclosures that must be provided to the consumer.
It is important to note that this legislation impacts the entire travel industry, not just those in the insurance business. All entities and individuals who offer travel insurance along with their travel services and are doing business in Ohio are subject to the Act’s licensing and registration requirements. This may include but is not limited to:
- Travel agencies;
- Tour operators;
- Cruise lines/airlines;
- Travel and vacation booking businesses; and
- Any other entity in the travel industry that offers travel insurance along with their travel products.
As a result, these entities and individuals should take steps to develop and implement policies and procedures that will comply with the Act.