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Bills to affect carriers, UW restrictions pass N.J. Senate; UM/UIM coverage bill introduced

Adverse carrier bills pass state Senate. The New Jersey Senate Commerce amended legislation (S-1559), which would allow consumers to bring a “bad faith” lawsuit against insurers to remove certain recoverable expenses last week. This legislation passed the Senate (21-9) on Jan. 28.

The legislation, would allow consumers to bring lawsuits against insurers for an unreasonable delay or unreasonable denial of a claim for payment of benefits under an insurance policy. PIANJ successfully campaigned to have insurance producers excluded from those who are eligible to be sued from earlier versions of this bill. That language remains in S-1559.

The bill, sponsored by Sen. Nicholas Scutari, D-22, has been sent to the state Assembly for consideration.

Underwriting restrictions bill passes state Senate. Legislation, S-111, which would prohibit the use of a number of underwriting factors in certain automobile insurance determinations passed the state Senate (22-9) on Jan. 28.

Under the legislation, carriers would be prohibited from assigning an insured to a rating tier based on that insured’s credit score, education and occupation. Recently, the bill was amended to add homeownership, employment status and marital status to the prohibited factors. The bill will now go to the state Assembly.

UM/UIM coverage bill introduced in the state Assembly. Legislation that would raise the minimum amounts of property damage liability, uninsured motorist, and underinsured motorist coverage for certain automobile insurance policies was introduced in the Assembly on Jan. 27.

Under the bill (S-5281), the minimum amount of coverage for uninsured motorist and underinsured motorist coverage under a standard automobile insurance policy would be raised to $50,000 for an accident causing bodily injury or death to a single person; $100,000 for an accident causing the injury or death of more than one person; and $25,000 for damage to property in an accident that does not involve a hit and run motor vehicle. Additionally, this bill would raise the minimum amount of liability coverage for property damage under a basic automobile insurance policy to $15,000 per accident.

The legislation is sponsored by Assemblyman John Catalano, R-10.

It has been referred to the Assembly Financial Institutions and Insurance Committee for consideration.