"An Act relating to allowing insurance policy forms to be filed and approved in languages other than English if an official English language version is also filed, and authorizing use of insurance policy forms and associated materials in languages other than English. "
Currently there is no law stating how insurance policies and associated materials provided in foreign languages would be interpreted - in English or in the foreign language. Without a clear law, insurers are reluctant to provide information and conduct business in foreign tongues. With a clear foreign language law, insurers will be able to confidently provide foreign language speakers with information regarding essential insurance products. HB 394 provides that insurance policies and associated materials be construed in English version so long as an English version was provided with the foreign language materials and proper disclosure is made.
This law benefits both consumers and the insurance business. According to the last census, more than 80,000 Alaskans speak a language other than English at home. Our increasingly diverse population needs proper information to secure their personal and business insurance needs. HB 394 will allow foreign language speaking consumers to secure information so they can better understand and thus can make better insurance decisions. For the insurance industry, HB 394 is likely to lead to increased penetration in emerging markets.
HB 394 is supported by the Division of Insurance and the Alaska State Chamber of Commerce.