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New Paid Family Leave Proposal Could Help Caregiver Clients

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State insurance legislators have approved a proposal that could help clients take time off to care for new children or for sick or disabled relatives.

Members of the National Council of Insurance Legislators (NCOIL) adopted the proposal, the Paid Family Leave Insurance Model Act, Saturday, at a meeting in New Orleans.

States and insurers could use the model to create a new type of commercial insurance coverage that would pay benefits when an insured worker needed time to care for loved ones.

What It Means

Clients who buy family leave insurance may face less budget uncertainty related to family caregiving responsibilities.


NCOIL is a Belmar, New Jersey-based association for state-level legislators who have an interest in insurance.

An NCOIL model has no direct effect on state laws and regulations, but Democrats and Republicans worked together at NCOIL to draft the paid family leave insurance model, and state lawmakers can use the model when drafting their bills.

The Model

The model was sponsored by Minnesota state Sen. Paul Utke, a Republican, and Arkansas state Rep. Deborah Ferguson, a Democrat. It’s based on a law that took effect in Virginia earlier this year.

If adopted and implemented as written, the model could support the creation of voluntarily purchased, employee-paid insurance products that cover two weeks to 52 weeks of paid leave related to events such as the birth of a child, a family member suffering from a major health problem or a family member being called up for active-duty status in the military.

Traditionally, similar types of insurance have been regulated as health insurance products but have often been sold by life insurance agents or benefits brokers.

The family leave insurance model could get extra attention from state lawmakers because it has strong support from insurers.

Susan Neely, president of the American Council of Life Insurers, welcomed NCOIL’s adoption of the model. “Whether welcoming a new child or caring for an elderly parent, everyone should be protected from economic loss when taking time off from work to care for a loved one,” Neely said.

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