Auto Insurance, Workers’ Comp Emerge Again as Top Leading Legal Issue Trends

January 30, 2004

Workers’ compensation and automobile insurance laws accounted for nearly 40 percent of the new property/casualty-related statutes
enacted by state legislatures last year, according to the fifth annual analysis of trends in new state insurance legislation published by the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies.

“NAMIC has placed online a summary of all 418 new property/casualty-related laws enacted in the states during 2003,” said Roger Schmelzer, vice president-state and regulatory affairs.
“Some very distinct issue trends emerge from the many new state insurance laws enacted during 2003.”

“The 87 new auto insurance laws identified in the NAMIC survey account for the single largest issue trend among the property/casualty-related statues enacted in 2003. The survey also identifies 75 new workers’ compensation laws, making this the second most common issue trend,” Schmelzer continued. “Combined, these two categories make up well over a third of all the new laws identified in this year’s survey. Other notable recurring issue trends revealed in the NAMIC 2003 Survey of New State Laws include new laws pertaining to insurance scoring, telephone solicitations and tort reform.”

Texas enacted the greatest number of new laws in the survey with 34. Colorado followed with 23, North Dakota had 20, Oregon enacted 18, Louisiana passed 17, and California and Virginia approved 16 new laws each.

At the other end of the scale, Alabama, Alaska, Hawaii, Missouri, and Ohio each approved just one new property/casualty-related law in 2003. Only two new laws were enacted in Iowa, Pennsylvania, and Vermont.

In addition to auto and workers comp, the survey identified 30 other distinct issue trends, including:

· 24 insurance scoring laws enacted in 20 states,
· 24 telephone solicitation laws enacted in 21 states,
· 25 tort reform laws enacted in 16 states,
· 15 insurer notification requirement laws enacted in 11 states, and
· 14 new laws regulating rates and forms enacted in 10 states.

Other important new law issue trends included producer licensing, financial regulations, privacy and disclosure, state residual market plans, insurer tax provisions, role of the state insurance regulator, anti-insurance fraud efforts, foreign insurers, guaranty fund operations, regulatory filing requirements, and mold.

A summary of the NAMIC 2003 Survey of New State Insurance Laws is available to the public at NAMIC Online

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