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Relating to recovery under uninsured and underinsured motorist insurance coverage.
No significant fiscal implication to the State is anticipated.
HB 1739 would stipulate that a claimant provides notice of a claim for uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage by providing the insurer written notification that reasonably informs the insurer of the facts of the case.
The bill would stipulate that an insurer may not require as a prerequisite to asserting a claim, or as a prerequisite to paying out benefits, a judgment or other legal determination establishing the other motorist's liability or uninsured or underinsured status.
An insurer would be required to attempt in good faith to "effectuate a prompt, fair, and equitable settlement of a claim once liability and damages have become reasonably clear."
The bill would provide for the accrual of prejudgment interest at the earlier of the 180th day after a claimant provides notice of a claim, or the date on which a suit is filed against the insurer to recover under the uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage.
Though this bill is well-intentioned, it would infringe on free market and limited government principles by mandating the terms of a contract for insurance between an insurance provider and an insured motorist. Unlike health insurance which operates on nothing like a free market, motor vehicle insurance while heavily regulated does operate in a competitive environment. To the extent that some insurers may have unfriendly policies related to uninsured or underinsured coverage, consumers do have the choice to change insurers. For these reasons we oppose HB 1739.