North Dakota’s Session Ends Positive for Insurers

May 12, 2003

North Dakota’s 2003 legislative session was reportedly a very positive
session for property/casualty insurers highlighted by the passage of legislation dealing with the payment of attorney fees in uninsured motorist claims, a property insurance placement facility bill and the National Conference of Insurance Legislators (NCOIL) credit model legislation.

“Topping the National Association of Independent of Insurers (NAII) wish list was the passage of HB 1190. The new law provides that in an action involving an uninsured or underinsured motorist claim, each party to the lawsuit must pay their own attorney’s fees. It also provides that insurers may pursue the same defenses that the uninsured or underinsured motorist would pursue. In addition, the bill strengthens the state’s no pay, no play law and contains provisions to clarify that vehicles with glass and hail damage will no longer be required to carry a salvage certificate of title,” said Laura Kotelman,
NAII counsel.

“The NAII also helped in drafting SB 2251, which was approved and allows the commissioner to implement a property insurance placement facility if he has determined a lack of availability of property insurance. The bill also provides that rates must be actuarially sound and may not actively compete with rates in the voluntary market,” added Kotelman.

The North Dakota Legislative Assembly also passed NAII supported
legislation dealing with an insurer’s use of credit. HB 1260 which is essentially the National Conference of Insurance Legislators (NCOIL) credit model bill, provides that an insurer may not deny, cancel or non renew a policy solely on the basis of credit.

Other successful bills recently signed by the Governor include:

· SB 2255 relating to telephone solicitations which was an Attorney General initiative that contains exemptions for established business relationships or to set-up a sales presentation at a later face-to-face meeting between the caller and the prospective purchaser; and
· HB 1161, which changes the legal rate of intoxication from .10 to .08. There is talk of sending this legislation to voters for a ballot referendum.

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