Governor to sign Fair Insurance Bill?

Posted Saturday, May 12, 2007 by Ed Harper

State of Washington Governor Christine Gregoire is posed to sign the Insurance Fair Conduct Act SB 5726. However, insurance representatives plan to meet with Washington State Trial Lawyers (WSTLA) early next week to discuss their differences. Consumer groups hail the bill as progressive and allow consumers more rights in their claims against their own insurance companies.

Insurance associations claim the bill would harm the insurance industry. The insurance lobby claim that monetary damages would be allowed to be increased, it would allow for the payment of costs and attorneys fees to the consumer, and would permit the courts to award triple (treble) damages as a punitive measure.

This bill makes sense. Insurance companies generally take advantage of their policy holders when given the opportunity. In light of companies such as Allstate and Farmers using a computer software program to reduce claims (Colossus) of their own policy holders, this bill should be enacted to protect consumers.

The Washington State Senate approved SB 5276 on a vote of 31 to 18. The Governor was supposed to sign the bill on May 8, 2007. The signing was halted in light of the demand by insurance groups to meet with WSTLA leaders.

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