Government shutdown halts licensing activity from Minnesota Department of Insurance

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Minnesota Governor Mark DaytonFollowing the closure of the government in Minnesota on July 1, 2011, the state’s Department of Insurance announced that its licensing activities would be disrupted.

As of the start of July, the shutdown of the state government – which has now occurred twice in six years – has led to a cessation of construction, a closure of state parks, and to the sending home of 22,000 state employees.

The Minnesota Department of Commerce is responsible for the regulation of insurance within that state. It sent out a letter to insurance regulators and licensees which explained that as a result of the government’s shutdown in the state, the majority of state agencies have no authority for maintaining non-critical services. This includes the Department of Commerce. It added that “As a result, we are advising our stakeholders, including licensees, of a possible disruption in department services.”

After adjourning on May 23, the Minnesota Legislature had not reached a budgeting agreement for the funding of the next fiscal year which started on July 1. This was a result of the lack of ability to come to a budget agreement between GOP leaders and Governor Mark Dayton, within the legislature. Though the majority of states did find the shortfalls in budgets challenging, this year only Minnesota has had to shut down entirely.

According to the Minnesota Insurance Department, as a result of the government’s closure, it will be incapable of:

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• Receiving or processing license applications (whether new or renewals), nor reactivations or reinstatements, printing, examinations pre-licensing, changes in name or address, letters of clearance or certification, or uploads or printouts of license education transcripts.

• Offering access to any licensing functions online by way of its website, NIPR, Sircon, PSI, or PULSE.

• Replying to inquiries.

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