NU Online News Service, Nov. 16, 11:05 a.m. – The Pennsylvania State Senate Appropriations Committee is pondering a bill that would give the state Banking and Insurance Commissioner the right to approve viatical settlements in the state.

Senate Bill 462, sponsored by Sen. Harold F. Mowery Jr., R-Lemoyne, Pa., and others, was referred to committee after the Senate Committee on Banking and Insurance approved the measure earlier this week.

Viatical settlements, in which a provider buys the policy of a terminally ill or elderly patient for part of its face value, are regulated by approximately 25 states.

Senate Bill 462, which was endorsed by Insurance Commissioner Diane Koken, would give the commissioner authority to license viatical settlement providers and approve or disapprove settlement contracts. It would also require extensive disclosures to consumers who sold their policies to assure that they understand the transaction as well as possible alternatives to selling their policies.