The Alliance of Automotive Service Providers of New Jersey (AASP/NJ) is speaking out against the claims certain insurers have made about proposed legislation that intends to protect collision shops and consumers in a court of law when battling unfair insurance practices.
Currently in New Jersey, there is no private right of action for a violation of the regulations that govern fair claim settlement practices, even when an insurer abuses a claimant or mishandles a claim by straying from the current regulations. The proposed bill S-2144 would change that by creating a private right of action where a claimant may file a civil suit in a court of law to address and resolve claim settlement issues.
“Certain insurers are starting to send out letters to their insureds, making false and misleading comments, in my opinion, in an effort to prevent the legislation from becoming law,” states AASP/NJ Executive Director Charles Bryant. “One claim that is being made is that the New Jersey Legislature is fast tracking the legislation that will substantially increase the price of personal automobile and homeowners’ insurance coverage in the state. This is certainly incorrect and apparently stated to mislead people at best. This legislation is not on the fast track. It was first introduced in March 2018 and then referred to the Assembly Financial Institutions and Insurance Committee that June.”
Bryant stressed that this bill would not substantially increase the price of personal and homeowners’ insurance coverage as some insurers are telling their insureds.
“An insurer cannot abuse its insured or improperly deny an insured’s claim and then be forced by a court of law to pay what the insured was actually owed or entitled to – along with court cost, attorney fees and treble damages – and then use those additional costs that resulted from their own wrongdoing as a basis to obtain a rate increase.”
The letters also suggest insureds call their legislators to tell them the legislation is a bad deal.