NC has the 3rd highest population of military personnel in the country. These folks disproportionately fall prey to consumer scams. Servicemembers tend to be young, often 18 or 19 years old. In many cases, their move to NC's bases is their first time away from home. Also, servicemembers move around often. This means that every 2-3 years they are in a new and unfamiliar location. These and other factors make our soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines targets for a variety of scams. Bait and switch automobile sales, pay day lending, predatory insurance sales from groups masquerading as government agencies, identity theft, and a host of other scams all have caused harm.
I'm proud to say that we're taking action in NC. Today I introduced HB 981, along with Rep. Alice Bordsen (D-Alamance), Rep. Rick Glazier (D-Cumberland), and Rep. Alice Underhill (D-Craven). This bill will create a military consumer protection specialist position in the NC Attorney General's office. The sole responsibility of this position will be to bring the weight of the Attorney General's office to bear against those who would seek to harm our servicemembers. Attorney General Roy Cooper does a spectacular job protecting North Carolinians from scams, and this position will significantly enhance his ability to provide this protection to our servicemembers.
I've also introduced HB 773 with Rep. Glazier, Rep. Margaret Dickson (D-Cumberland), and Rep. Marvin Lucas (D-Cumberland). This bill will outlaw many shady insurance sales methods targeting servicemembers. For example, some salesman will try to sell an 18 year old soldier with no wife or kids a life insurance policy that has an exclusion for death in combat. Or, a salesman will try to fool a sailor into thinking that the salesman is offering a product sanctioned by the military. These practices have cost servicemembers dearly and they must stop. I'm pleased to be working closely with Insurance Commissioner Jim Long on this bill.
These bills will be referred to committee and will, hopefully, move onto the House floor, and then over to the Senate.