Insurance companies and agents will be allowed to give away free gifts at the Iowa State Fair, which begins it’s 11 day run in Des Moines tomorrow. The Iowa Insurance Division had ruled in late June to ban insurers from giving away "goods and services of any value."
But, division spokesperson Tom Alger says many companies and agents paid for their fair booths and ordered their goods to give away months ago. "Most of them were saying, ‘gosh, we’ve already invested all this money and it’s been part of our plan and tradition to give away candy, pencils and tattoos for the kids,’" Alger said. "All those things are part of the fair."
Alger says state officials will not take action against insurers who are distributing freebies at the fair. "We did recognize that this was a little short notice for them on compliance," Alger said. "After all, we’re talking about low value items and it’s not really something that’s likely to be influencing people to buy or not buy an insurance product."
At issue is the practice of "rebating," which is banned across the country. The state will hold a public hearing on rebating on August 15th. Alger says officials want to clarify exactly what rebating is with some clear, definitive language.
"There’s just too many interpretations of what the law is and we’d like to have the commissioner decide what is and what is not a rebate," Alger said.