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SB443 SUB1 Senate Bill 443 History

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COMMITTEE SUBSTITUTE

FOR

Senate Bill No. 443

(By Senators Tucker, Miller, Snyder, Walters and Kessler (Mr. President))

____________

[Originating in the Committee on Banking and Insurance;

reported March 19, 2013.]

____________

 

A BILL to amend and reenact §17A-6-10b of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended; to amend and reenact §17A-6C-2 of said code; to amend and reenact §17C-22-2 of said code; to amend and reenact §17D-4-2, §17D-4-7 and §17D-4-12 of said code; and to amend and reenact §33-6-31 and §33-6-31d of said code, all relating to the minimum proof of financial responsibility in motor vehicle insurance coverage; increasing minimum proof of financial responsibility amounts; changing sections that refer to the specific prior financial responsibility amounts to now refer to the amounts specified in §17D-4-2; and minimizing the administrative burden by not requiring new insurance offers and new forms for making offers of uninsured and underinsured coverage.

Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:

    That §17A-6-10b of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended and reenacted; that §17A-6C-2 of said code be amended and reenacted; that §17C-22-2 of said code be amended and reenacted; that §17D-4-2, §17D-4-7 and §17D-4-12 of said code be amended and reenacted; and that §33-6-31 and §33-6-31d of said code be amended and reenacted, all to read as follows:

CHAPTER 17A. MOTOR VEHICLE ADMINISTRATION, REGISTRATION, CERTIFICATE OF TITLE, AND ANTITHEFT PROVISIONS.

ARTICLE 6. LICENSING OF DEALERS AND WRECKERS OR DISMANTLERS; SPECIAL PLATES; TEMPORARY PLATES OR MARKERS.

§17A-6-10b. Special plates for financial institutions; fee.

    (1) Notwithstanding any of the other provisions of this article, a financial institution may operate or move a vehicle upon the highways and streets of this state solely for the purposes of transporting such vehicle, in conjunction with a repossession or sale of said vehicle conducted in the ordinary course of such institution's business in financing the purchase of the vehicle or where the vehicle otherwise serves as collateral or security in a loan transaction, without first registering each such vehicle upon the condition that any such vehicle display thereon, in a manner prescribed by the commissioner, a special plate or plates issued to such financial institution as provided in this section.

    (2) Any financial institution may make application to the commissioner upon a form prescribed by him or her for a certificate containing a general distinguishing number and for a special plate or plates. The applicant shall submit proof of its status as a bona fide financial institution requiring such special plates as required by the commissioner. The commissioner shall determine that the applicant is a bona fide financial institution eligible to receive a special plate or plates under the provisions of this section and that said institution does, as a regular incident to its business, repossess and sell vehicles and have need to transport said vehicles in conjunction with the repossession or sale.

    (3) The commissioner, upon approving any such application, shall issue to the applicant a certificate containing the applicant's name and address and the general distinguishing number assigned to the applicant. The commissioner shall also issue a special plate, or special plates, as applied for, which shall have displayed thereon the general distinguishing number assigned to the applicant. Each plate shall also contain a number or symbol identifying the same from every other plate or plates bearing the same general distinguishing number.

    (4) The annual fee for a license certificate for a financial institution and one special plate shall be $100. Additional special plates, not to exceed four, shall be available upon appropriate application to the commissioner at a fee of $25 each.

    (5) Every financial institution shall keep a written record of the vehicle upon which such special plates are used, the time during which each is used upon a particular vehicle and the location of the place of repossession, storage and subsequent delivery, if any, of each vehicle, which record shall be open to inspection by any police officer or employee of the department.

    (6) The provisions of this section shall not apply to any work, company or service vehicles of the financial institution.

    (7) The financial institution shall be required to furnish a certificate of insurance in the amount of $25,000 because of bodily injury to or death of any one person in any one accident, $40,000 because of bodily injury or death to two or more persons in any one accident and $10,000 because of injury to or destruction of property of others in any one accident with amounts not less than the requirements of section two, article four, chapter seventeen-d of this code.

    (8) For purposes of this section, "financial institution" shall mean any state bank, state savings and loan association, state building and loan association, national bank, federally chartered savings and loan, savings bank, industrial bank, industrial loan company or similar institution.

ARTICLE 6C. AUTOMOBILE AUCTION BUSINESSES.

§17A-6C-2. Bonds and insurance.

    (a) An application for a license certificate must be accompanied by a bond, issued by a surety corporation authorized to issue bonds in this state, in the penal sum of $25,000, to ensure that the licensee will not make fraudulent representations to the detriment of any purchaser, seller, financial institution or the State of West Virginia. The bond shall be effective on the date the license certificate is issued. A licensee shall keep the bond in full force and effect at all times. The aggregate liability of the surety in no event shall exceed the principal sum of the bond. The surety of the bond shall have the right to cancel upon giving thirty days' notice to the commissioner and shall be relieved of liability for any breach of condition occurring after the effective date of the cancellation.

    (b) An application for a license certificate must also be accompanied by a certificate of insurance certifying that the applicant has in force an insurance policy, issued by an insurance company authorized to do business in this state, insuring the applicant and any other person using any vehicle or vehicles owned by, or in the possession of, the applicant with the expressed or implied permission of the applicant, against loss from the liability imposed by law for damages arising out of the ownership, possession, operation, maintenance or use of such vehicles, subject to minimum limits, exclusive of interest and costs, with respect to each vehicle, as follows: $20,000 because of bodily injury to or death of one person in any one accident and, subject to said limit for one person, $40,000 because of bodily injury to or death of two or more persons in any one accident and $10,000 because of injury to or destruction of property of others in any one accident in amounts not less than the requirements of section two, article four, chapter seventeen-d of this code.

    (c) The liability insurance policy shall run concurrently with the license year and shall remain in full force and effect at all times.

    (d) All persons conducting business at or through an automobile auction business in this state must obey all Division of Motor Vehicles laws and rules.

    (e) Automobile auction businesses shall report any violations of law or any scheme designed to deceive or defraud the automobile buying public and assist in prosecuting those involved in such acts.

CHAPTER 17C. TRAFFIC REGULATIONS AND LAWS OF THE ROAD.

ARTICLE 22. RIDESHARING.

§17C-22-2. Common carrier laws do not apply to ridesharing; requiring liability insurance.

    The following laws and regulations of this state shall not apply to any ridesharing arrangement using a motor vehicle with a seating capacity for not more than fifteen persons, including the driver:

    (a) Chapter twenty-four-a of this code pertaining to the regulation of common carriers of any kind or description by the Public Service Commission;

    (b) Laws and regulations containing insurance requirements that are specifically applicable to common carriers or commercial vehicles: Provided, That with respect to any private or individually owned motor vehicle designed for a normal passenger capacity, including the driver thereof, of no more than six persons, prior to, and continuing during the term of such use, the use of any such motor vehicle for any ridesharing arrangement under the provisions of this article, such motor vehicle shall be insured for liability arising out of the ownership, operation, maintenance or use thereof in the amount of $20,000 because of bodily injury to or death of one person in any one accident, and, subject to said limit for one person, in the amount of $40,000 because of bodily injury to or death of two or more persons in any one accident, and in the amount of $10,000 because of injury to or destruction of property of others in any one accident amounts not less than the requirements of section two, article four, chapter seventeen-d of this code, and in the case of any other motor vehicle to be used for any ridesharing arrangement under the provisions of this article, all such motor vehicles prior to such use, and continuing during the term of such use, shall be insured for liability arising out of the ownership, operation, maintenance or use thereof in the amount of $100,000 because of bodily injury to or death of one person in any one accident, and, subject to said limit for one person, in the amount of $300,000 because of bodily injury to or death of two or more persons in any one accident, and in the amount of $25,000 because of injury to or destruction of property of others in any one accident and insured for medical pay coverage of not less than $10,000;

    (c) Laws imposing a greater standard of care on common carriers or commercial vehicles than that imposed on other drivers or owners of motor vehicles;

    (d) Laws and regulations with equipment requirements and special accident reporting requirements that are specifically applicable to common carriers or commercial vehicles; and

    (e) Laws imposing a tax on fuel purchased in another state by a common carrier or road use taxes on commercial buses.

CHAPTER 17D. MOTOR VEHICLE SAFETY RESPONSIBILITY LAW.

ARTICLE 4. PROOF OF FINANCIAL RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE FUTURE.

§17D-4-2. "Proof of financial responsibility" defined.

    The term "proof of financial responsibility" as used in this chapter shall mean means: Proof of ability to respond in damages for liability, on account of accident occurring subsequent to the effective date of said the proof, arising out of the ownership, operation, maintenance or use of a motor vehicle, trailer or semitrailer in the amount of $20,000 $25,000 because of bodily injury to or death of one person in any one accident, and, subject to said the limit for one person, in the amount of $40,000 $50,000 because of bodily injury to or death of two or more persons in any one accident, and in the amount of $10,000 $25,000 because of injury to or destruction of property of others in any one accident. The proof of financial responsibility amounts established in this section by the acts of the Legislature during its 2013 regular session, shall apply to any insurance policy issued or renewed on or after January 1, 2014.

§17D-4-7. Payments sufficient to satisfy requirements.

    (a) Judgments herein referred to shall, for the purpose of this chapter only, be deemed satisfied:

    (1) When $20,000 has been credited upon any judgment or judgments rendered in excess of that amount because of bodily injury to or death of one person as the result of any one accident; or

    (2) When, subject to such limit of $20,000 because of bodily injury to or death of one person, the sum of $40,000 has been credited upon any judgment or judgments rendered in excess of that amount because of bodily injury to or death of two or more persons as the result of any one accident; or

    (3) When $10,000 has been credited upon any judgment or judgments rendered in excess of that amount because of injury to or destruction of property of others as a result of any one accident.

    (b) Provided, however, that payments made in settlement of any claims because of bodily injury, death or property damage arising from such accident shall be credited in reduction of the amounts provided for in this section.

    (c) The dollar amounts set forth in subsection (a) of this section shall reflect the minimum limits of financial responsibility in section two of this article as they may be amended from time to time.

§17D-4-12. "Motor vehicle liability policy" defined; scope and provisions of policy.

    (a) A "motor vehicle liability policy" as said term is used in this chapter means an "owner's policy" or an "operator's policy" of liability insurance certified as provided in section ten or section eleven of this article as proof of financial responsibility, and issued, except as otherwise provided in section eleven, by an insurance carrier duly authorized to transact business in this state, to or for the benefit of the person named therein as insured.

    (b) Such owner's policy of liability insurance:

    (1) Shall designate by explicit description or by appropriate reference all vehicles with respect to which coverage is thereby to be granted; and

    (2) Shall insure the person named therein and any other person, as insured, using any such vehicle or vehicles with the express or implied permission of such named insured, against loss from the liability imposed by law for damages arising out of the ownership, operation, maintenance or use of such vehicle or vehicles within the United States of America or the Dominion of Canada, subject to limits exclusive of interest and costs, with respect to each such vehicle, as follows: Twenty thousand dollars because of bodily injury to or death of one person in any one accident and, subject to said limit for one person, $40,000 because of bodily injury to or death of two or more persons in any one accident, and $10,000 because of injury to or destruction of property of others in any one accident in such amounts as are required by section two of this article.

    (c) Such operator's policy of liability insurance shall insure the person named as insured therein against loss from the liability imposed upon him or her by law for damages arising out of the use by him or her of any motor vehicle not owned by him or her, within the same territorial limits and subject to the same limits of liability as are set forth above with respect to an owner's policy of liability insurance.

    (d) Such motor vehicle liability policy shall state the name and address of the named insured, the coverage afforded by the policy, the premium charged therefor, the policy period, and the limits of liability, and shall contain an agreement or be endorsed that insurance is provided thereunder in accordance with the coverage defined in this chapter as respects bodily injury and death or property damage, or both, and is subject to all the provisions of this chapter.

    (e) Such motor vehicle liability policy need not insure any liability under any workers' compensation law nor any liability on account of bodily injury to or death of an employee of the insured while engaged in the employment, other than domestic, of the insured, or while engaged in the operation, maintenance or repair of any such vehicle nor any liability for damage to property owned by, rented to, in charge of or transported by the insured.

    (f) Every motor vehicle liability policy shall be subject to the following provisions which need not be contained therein:

    (1) The liability of the insurance carrier with respect to the insurance required by this chapter shall become absolute whenever injury or damage covered by said motor vehicle liability policy occurs; said policy may not be canceled or annulled as to such liability by an agreement between the insurance carrier and the insured after the occurrence of the injury or damage; no statement made by the insured or on his or her behalf and no violation of said policy shall defeat or void said policy.

    (2) The satisfaction by the insured of a judgment for such injury or damage shall not be a condition precedent to the right or duty of the insurance carrier to make payment on account of such injury or damage.

    (3) The insurance carrier shall have the right to settle any claim covered by the policy, and if such settlement is made in good faith, the amount thereof shall be deductible from the limits of liability specified in subdivision (2), subsection (b) of this section.

    (4) The policy, the written application therefor, if any, and any rider or endorsement which does not conflict with the provisions of this chapter shall constitute the entire contract between parties.

    (g) Any policy which grants the coverage required for a motor vehicle liability policy may also grant any lawful coverage in excess of or in addition to the coverage specified for a motor vehicle liability policy and such excess or additional coverage shall not be subject to the provisions of this chapter. With respect to a policy which grants such excess or additional coverage, the term "motor vehicle liability policy" applies only to that part of the coverage which is required by this section.

    (h) Any motor vehicle liability policy may provide that the insured shall reimburse the insurance carrier for any payment the insurance carrier would not have been obligated to make under the terms of the policy except for the provisions of this chapter.

    (i) Any motor vehicle liability policy may provide for the prorating of the insurance thereunder with other valid and collectible insurance.

    (j) The requirements for a motor vehicle liability policy may be fulfilled by the policies of one or more insurance carriers which policies together meet such requirements.

    (k) Any binder issued pending the issuance of a motor vehicle policy shall be deemed to fulfill the requirements for such a policy.

CHAPTER 33. INSURANCE.

ARTICLE 6. THE INSURANCE POLICY.

§33-6-31. Motor vehicle policy; omnibus clause; uninsured and              underinsured motorists' coverage; conditions for              recovery under endorsement; rights and liabilities of              insurer.

    (a) No policy or contract of bodily injury liability insurance, or of property damage liability insurance, covering liability arising from the ownership, maintenance or use of any motor vehicle, shall be issued or delivered in this state to the owner of such vehicle, or shall be issued or delivered by any insurer licensed in this state upon any motor vehicle for which a certificate of title has been issued by the Division of Motor Vehicles of this state, unless it shall contain a provision insuring the named insured and any other person, except a bailee for hire and any persons specifically excluded by any restrictive endorsement attached to the policy, responsible for the use of or using the motor vehicle with the consent, expressed or implied, of the named insured or his or her spouse against liability for death or bodily injury sustained or loss or damage occasioned within the coverage of the policy or contract as a result of negligence in the operation or use of such vehicle by the named insured or by such person: Provided, That in any such automobile liability insurance policy or contract, or endorsement thereto, if coverage resulting from the use of a nonowned automobile is conditioned upon the consent of the owner of such motor vehicle, the word "owner" shall be construed to include the custodian of such nonowned motor vehicles. Notwithstanding any other provision of this code, if the owner of a policy receives a notice of cancellation pursuant to article six-a of this chapter and the reason for the cancellation is a violation of law by a person insured under the policy, said owner may by restrictive endorsement specifically exclude the person who violated the law and the restrictive endorsement shall be effective in regard to the total liability coverage provided under the policy, including coverage provided pursuant to the mandatory liability requirements of section two, article four, chapter seventeen-d of this code, but nothing in such restrictive endorsement shall be construed to abrogate the "family purpose doctrine".

    (b) Nor shall any such policy or contract be so issued or delivered unless it shall contain an endorsement or provisions undertaking to pay the insured all sums which he or she shall be legally entitled to recover as damages from the owner or operator of an uninsured motor vehicle, within limits which shall be no less than the requirements of section two, article four, chapter seventeen-d of this code, as amended from time to time: Provided, That such policy or contract shall provide an option to the insured with appropriately adjusted premiums to pay the insured all sums which he or she shall be legally entitled to recover as damages from the owner or operator of an uninsured motor vehicle up to an amount of $100,000 because of bodily injury to or death of one person in any one accident and, subject to said limit for one person, in the amount of $300,000 because of bodily injury to or death of two or more persons in any one accident and in the amount of $50,000 because of injury to or destruction of property of others in any one accident: Provided, however, That such endorsement or provisions may exclude the first $300 of property damage resulting from the negligence of an uninsured motorist: Provided further, That such policy or contract shall provide an option to the insured with appropriately adjusted premiums to pay the insured all sums which he or she shall legally be entitled to recover as damages from the owner or operator of an uninsured or underinsured motor vehicle up to an amount not less than limits of bodily injury liability insurance and property damage liability insurance purchased by the insured without setoff against the insured's policy or any other policy. Regardless of whether motor vehicle coverage is offered and provided to an insured through a multiple vehicle insurance policy or contract, or in separate single vehicle insurance policies or contracts, no insurer or insurance company providing a bargained for discount for multiple motor vehicles with respect to underinsured motor vehicle coverage shall be treated differently from any other insurer or insurance company utilizing a single insurance policy or contract for multiple covered vehicles for purposes of determining the total amount of coverage available to an insured. "Underinsured motor vehicle" means a motor vehicle with respect to the ownership, operation or use of which there is liability insurance applicable at the time of the accident, but the limits of that insurance are either: (i) Less than limits the insured carried for underinsured motorists' coverage; or (ii) has been reduced by payments to others injured in the accident to limits less than limits the insured carried for underinsured motorists' coverage. No sums payable as a result of underinsured motorists' coverage shall be reduced by payments made under the insured's policy or any other policy.

    (c) As used in this section, the term "bodily injury" shall include death resulting therefrom and the term "named insured" shall mean the person named as such in the declarations of the policy or contract and shall also include such person's spouse if a resident of the same household and the term "insured" shall mean the named insured and, while resident of the same household, the spouse of any such named insured and relatives of either, while in a motor vehicle or otherwise, and any person, except a bailee for hire, who uses, with the consent, expressed or implied, of the named insured, the motor vehicle to which the policy applies or the personal representative of any of the above; and the term "uninsured motor vehicle" shall mean a motor vehicle as to which there is no: (i) Bodily injury liability insurance and property damage liability insurance both in the amounts specified by section two, article four, chapter seventeen-d of this code, as amended from time to time; or (ii) there is such insurance, but the insurance company writing the same denies coverage thereunder; or (iii) there is no certificate of self-insurance issued in accordance with the provisions of said section. A motor vehicle shall be deemed to be uninsured if the owner or operator thereof be unknown: Provided, That recovery under the endorsement or provisions shall be subject to the conditions hereinafter set forth.

    (d) Any insured intending to rely on the coverage required by subsection (b) of this section shall, if any action be instituted against the owner or operator of an uninsured or underinsured motor vehicle, cause a copy of the summons and a copy of the complaint to be served upon the insurance company issuing the policy, in the manner prescribed by law, as though such insurance company were a named party defendant; such company shall thereafter have the right to file pleadings and to take other action allowable by law in the name of the owner, or operator, or both, of the uninsured or underinsured motor vehicle or in its own name.

    Nothing in this subsection shall prevent such owner or operator from employing counsel of his or her own choice and taking any action in his or her own interest in connection with such proceeding.

    (e) If the owner or operator of any motor vehicle which causes bodily injury or property damage to the insured be unknown, the insured, or someone in his or her behalf, in order for the insured to recover under the uninsured motorist endorsement or provision, shall:

    (i) Within twenty-four hours after the insured discover, and being physically able to report the occurrence of such accident, the insured, or someone in his or her behalf, shall report the accident to a police, peace or to a judicial officer, unless the accident shall already have been investigated by a police officer;

    (ii) Notify the insurance company, within sixty days after such accident, that the insured or his or her legal representative has a cause or causes of action arising out of such accident for damages against a person or persons whose identity is unknown and setting forth the facts in support thereof; and, upon written request of the insurance company communicated to the insured not later than five days after receipt of such statement, shall make available for inspection the motor vehicle which the insured was occupying at the time of the accident; and

    (iii) Upon trial establish that the motor vehicle, which caused the bodily injury or property damage, whose operator is unknown, was a "hit and run" motor vehicle, meaning a motor vehicle which causes damage to the property of the insured arising out of physical contact of such motor vehicle therewith, or which causes bodily injury to the insured arising out of physical contact of such motor vehicle with the insured or with a motor vehicle which the insured was occupying at the time of the accident. If the owner or operator of any motor vehicle causing bodily injury or property damage be unknown, an action may be instituted against the unknown defendant as "John Doe", in the county in which the accident took place or in any other county in which such action would be proper under the provisions of article one, chapter fifty-six of this code; service of process may be made by delivery of a copy of the complaint and summons or other pleadings to the clerk of the court in which the action is brought, and service upon the insurance company issuing the policy shall be made as prescribed by law as though such insurance company were a party defendant. The insurance company shall have the right to file pleadings and take other action allowable by law in the name of John Doe.

    (f) An insurer paying a claim under the endorsement or provisions required by subsection (b) of this section shall be subrogated to the rights of the insured to whom such claim was paid against the person causing such injury, death or damage to the extent that payment was made. The bringing of an action against the unknown owner or operator as John Doe or the conclusion of such an action shall not constitute a bar to the insured, if the identity of the owner or operator who caused the injury or damages complained of, becomes known, from bringing an action against the owner or operator theretofore proceeded against as John Doe. Any recovery against such owner or operator shall be paid to the insurance company to the extent that such insurance company shall have paid the insured in the action brought against such owner or operator as John Doe, except that such insurance company shall pay its proportionate part of any reasonable costs and expenses incurred in connection therewith, including reasonable attorney's fees. Nothing in an endorsement or provision made under this subsection, nor any other provision of law, shall operate to prevent the joining, in an action against John Doe, of the owner or operator of the motor vehicle causing injury as a party defendant, and such joinder is hereby specifically authorized.

    (g) No such endorsement or provisions shall contain any provision requiring arbitration of any claim arising under any such endorsement or provision, nor may anything be required of the insured except the establishment of legal liability, nor shall the insured be restricted or prevented in any manner from employing legal counsel or instituting legal proceedings.

    (h) The provisions of subsections (a) and (b) of this section shall not apply to any policy of insurance to the extent that it covers the liability of an employer to his or her employees under any workers' compensation law.

    (i) The commissioner of insurance shall formulate and require the use of standard policy provisions for the insurance required by this section, but use of such standard policy provisions may be waived by the commissioner in the circumstances set forth in section ten of this article.

    (j) A motor vehicle shall be deemed to be uninsured within the meaning of this section, if there has been a valid bodily injury or property damage liability policy issued upon such vehicle, but which policy is uncollectible, in whole or in part, by reason of the insurance company issuing such policy upon such vehicle being insolvent or having been placed in receivership. The right of subrogation granted insurers under the provisions of subsection (f) of this section shall not apply as against any person or persons who is or becomes an uninsured motorist for the reasons set forth in this subsection.

    (k) Nothing contained herein shall prevent any insurer from also offering benefits and limits other than those prescribed herein, nor shall this section be construed as preventing any insurer from incorporating in such terms, conditions and exclusions as may be consistent with the premium charged.

    (l) The Insurance Commissioner shall review on an annual basis the rate structure for uninsured and underinsured motorists' coverage as set forth in subsection (b) of this section and shall report to the Legislature on said rate structure on or before January 15, 1983, and on or before January 15, of each of the next two succeeding years.

    (m) For insurance policies in effect on December 31, 2013, including motor vehicle insurance policies and liability policies that are of an excess or umbrella type that cover automobile liability, insurers are not required to make a new offer of coverage on such insurance policy in response to amendments made to the minimum required financial responsibility limits set forth in section two, article four, chapter seventeen-d of this code. Those insurers with policies that carry limits of coverage below the minimum required financial responsibility limits shall increase such limits to an amount equal to or above the new minimum required financial responsibility limits when the policy is renewed but not later than December 31, 2014.

§33-6-31d. Form for making offer of optional uninsured and underinsured coverage.

    (a) Optional limits of uninsured motor vehicle coverage and underinsured motor vehicle coverage required by section thirty-one of this article shall be made available to the named insured at the time of initial application for liability coverage and upon any request of the named insured on a form prepared and made available by the Insurance Commissioner. The contents of the form shall be as prescribed by the commissioner and shall specifically inform the named insured of the coverage offered and the rate calculation therefor, including, but not limited to, all levels and amounts of such coverage available and the number of vehicles which will be subject to the coverage. The form shall be made available for use on or before the effective date of this section. The form shall allow any named insured to waive any or all of the coverage offered.

    (b) Any insurer who issues a motor vehicle insurance policy in this state shall provide the form to each person who applies for the issuance of such policy by delivering the form to the applicant or by mailing the form to the applicant together with the applicant's initial premium notice. The applicant shall complete, date and sign the form and return the form to the insurer within thirty days after receipt thereof. No insurer or agent thereof is liable for payment of any damages applicable under any optional uninsured or underinsured coverage authorized by section thirty-one of this article for any incident which occurs from the date the form was mailed or delivered to the applicant until the insurer receives the form and accepts payment of the appropriate premium for the coverage requested therein from the applicant: Provided, That if prior to the insurer's receipt of the executed form the insurer issues a policy to the applicant which provides for such optional uninsured or underinsured coverage, the insurer shall be liable for payment of claims against such optional coverage up to the limits provided therefor in such policy. The contents of a form described in this section which has been signed by an applicant shall create a presumption that such applicant and all named insureds received an effective offer of the optional coverages described in this section and that such applicant exercised a knowing and intelligent election or rejection, as the case may be, of such offer as specified in the form. Such election or rejection shall be binding on all persons insured under the policy.

    (c) Any insurer who has issued a motor vehicle insurance policy in this state which is in effect on the effective date of this section shall mail or otherwise deliver the form to any person who is designated in the policy as a named insured. A named insured shall complete, date and sign the form and return the form to the insurer within thirty days after receipt thereof. No insurer or agent thereof is liable for payment of any damages in any amount greater than any limits of such coverage, if any, provided by the policy in effect on the date the form was mailed or delivered to such named insured for any incident which occurs from the date the form was mailed or delivered to such named insured until the insurer receives the form and accepts payment of the appropriate premium for the coverage requested therein from the applicant. The contents of a form described in this section which has been signed by any named insured shall create a presumption that all named insureds under the policy received an effective offer of the optional coverages described in this section and that all such named insured exercised a knowing and intelligent election or rejection, as the case may be, of such offer as specified in the form. Such election or rejection is binding on all persons insured under the policy.

    (d) Failure of the applicant or a named insured to return the form described in this section to the insurer as required by this section within the time periods specified in this section creates a presumption that such person received an effective offer of the optional coverages described in this section and that such person exercised a knowing and intelligent rejection of such offer. Such rejection is binding on all persons insured under the policy.

    (e) The insurer shall make such forms available to any named insured who requests different coverage limits on or after the effective date of this section. No insurer is required to make such form available or notify any person of the availability of such optional coverages authorized by this section except as required by this section.

    (f) Notwithstanding any of the provisions of article six of this chapter to the contrary, including section thirty-one-f, for insurance policies in effect on December 31, 2013, insurers are not required to offer or obtain new uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage offer forms as described in this section on any insurance policy to comply with statutory changes made to the amount of the minimum required financial responsibility limits set forth in section two, article four, chapter seventeen-d of this code. All such offer forms that were executed prior to January 1, 2014, shall remain in full force and effect.




    NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to increase the minimum proof of financial responsibility in motor vehicle insurance coverage while minimizing administrative burdens on insurers.


    Strike-throughs indicate language that would be stricken from the present law, and underscoring indicates new language that would be added.

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