Wis. Senate Kills “All Sums” Bill

September 6, 2005

A Wisconsin Senate Committee late Friday killed the anti-business “all sums” bill, a measure vehemently opposed by the insurance industry.

“The Senate is to be commended for taking a sound, principled stance against a very bad bill – one that would have rewrote decades-old contracts and incorrectly placed the legislature in the role of the judiciary,” said Steve Schneider, vice president, Midwest Region of the American Insurance Association (AIA), which actively oppsed the bill. “The interested parties can now continue to move forward sorting out liability, settling claims and keeping the cleanup on schedule without the threat of onerous legislative interference.”

The “all sums” bill, AB 222, (Senate Bill 137) was defeated in the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Insurance by a vote of 6-1 late Friday. The bill was aggressively advocated by paper companies who were found by Wisconsin and U.S. officials to be “potentially responsible parties” – the entities “on the hook” for the cleanup of decades of PCB (polychlorinated biphenyls) pollution along the Fox River, south of Green Bay.

The proposal would have removed the judiciary from its traditional role in deciding the allocation of damages among insurance companies, instead allowing the policyholder to select one insurer and require that insurer to pay “all sums” up to the policy limits. The cleanup, which has already started, has been estimated at approximately $500 million and is expected to take at least a decade.

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