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Utah Senator Proposes 3 Changes to Auto Insurance Law

The Insurance Journal is reporting that State Senator Stephen Urquhart of Utah is trying to change the law on automobile insurance coverage in his state by proposing three bills with address un- and under-insured motorist coverage, liability insurance, and arbitration for accident claims.

Senate Bill 62 would require a written response to a covered driver’s compensation demand “within a reasonable amount of time” from all insurers providing uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage. In addition, the companies should pay drivers’ or insurers’ demands “immediately.” If a carrier does not pay the full amount of the driver’s demand for compensation, the driver would then be eligible to litigate or arbitrate the remaining claim.

The Senate passed this bill and it was sent to the House.

Senate Bill 70 modifies Utah’s current Uniform Driver License Act by altering provisions relating to the liability limits imposed for damages caused by a minor operating a motor vehicle. Under the new bill, both the owner of a vehicle, and the minor who was allowed to drive it, can be held jointly and severally liable for any damages caused by the negligence of the minor, when an accident occurs.

In addition to this change, Urquhart is also proposing that the owners’ liability be limited to the amount of their liability insurance if a crash involves the injury or death of one person, and to $100,000 if more than one person is injured or killed. Currently, according to the Senator, the potential liability is unlimited.

This bill passed in the Senate and is waiting for the governor’s signature.

Senate Bill 105, which is also waiting for the governor’s signature, modifies the state Insurance Code by amending provisions relating to the use of arbitration for certain motor vehicle accident claims, and increasing the arbitration award limit an injured person can get from an insurance company from the current $25,000 to $50,000.

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