On Thursday, Gov. Roy Cooper vetoed the ninth bill of his term, already blowing by his predecessor Pat McCrory’s total of six made over his entire term as governor.
Former Gov. Bev Perdue vetoed 19 across her term.
Cooper vetoed HB140, “Dental Plans Provider Contracts/ Transparency” which dealt with transparency relating to dental insurance fee schedules.
The primary sponsor of the bill was Rep. Bert Jones (R-Rockingham).
The bill dealt with dental insurance fee schedules disclosed by insurers to providers adding companies that write “stand-alone” dental insurance to the list of insurers subject to the disclosure requirements.
Cooper took issue with an amendment added by Sen. Dan Bishop (R-Mecklenburg) that extended the ability for customers to purchase credit insurance such as credit property, life or unemployment insurance on consumer loans to include items such as personal computers.
Cooper explained his veto saying, “Making small loans more expensive by expanding credit insurance can drive borrowers further into debt, especially those who can least afford it. If this bill becomes law, consumers will have higher-cost loans because they will be borrowing the money to pay the credit insurance premiums. Borrowers who need short-term loans should not have to pay more for unnecessary insurance. Therefore, I veto the bill.”
Bishop responded Friday saying, “People who do consumer loans cannot require that people buy consumer credit insurance, but for those who may want to do so, he’s just made it impossible.”
Bishop went on to reiterate that his amendment did not force anyone to purchase consumer credit insurance, but expanded the items eligible to be covered to include things, for example, like personal computers.
Bishop explained that someone with a loan for a personal or laptop computer who becomes unemployed, for instance, could use the consumer credit unemployment coverage, if it had been purchased, to either pay off the loan or make the payments until once again employed. “Not everyone will want to buy it, and they don’t have to buy it, Bishop said, “That’s why on the left there’s a lot of antagonism toward the consumer credit industry. They want to protect people from high interest rates, by seeing to it that they can’t borrow money at all.”
Consumer credit insurance is offered on a voluntary basis for people who make purchases on credit and want to have their loan paid off in the event of their death, loss of property or their becoming unemployed. It often comes under fire because the premiums are part of the borrower’s monthly loan payment, and if the loan is refinanced, only a portion of the unused insurance is refunded.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) alerts borrowers on one of its websites about consumer credit insurance. “Credit insurance usually is optional, which means you don’t have to purchase it from the lender. In fact, the FTC says it’s against the law for a lender to deceptively include credit insurance (or other optional products) in your loan without your knowledge or permission.”
Bishop said, “As a practical matter, you can’t make people do it, but this would have increased flexibility for that type of insurance. There’s some people who might have been interested in buying it, but now they won’t be able to. [Cooper] is saying he knows better than Joe Smith who needs to buy a computer, whether Joe Smith faces possible unemployment, and would like to guard against that risk by incurring the cost of this premium. He may know better, but my own view is you ought to give the consumer the choice.”
The General Assembly convenes on August 3 to consider Cooper’s vetoes.