New Jersey Legislature Recesses for Summer; Insurance Issues Await Fall Action

July 10, 2000

The New Jersey legislature recessed for the summer without voting on major legislation that would allow new lawsuits. The New Jersey trial bar is supporting the bill, which would create a situation similar to that experienced in California, where the average claim cost rose more than $5,000 and there were nearly 40,000 more bodily injury court filings when third party bad faith lawsuits were permitted.

“This bill threatens to wipe out all of the cost savings created by the auto insurance reform legislation passed in 1998,” said Donal Cleasby, assistant general counsel for the National Association of Independent Insurers. “We will continue to fight this legislation because the evidence is clear that these lawsuits only serve to increase costs and do not offer consumers additional protections. Our research shows that in New Jersey, consumers stand to lose $1.8 billion due to increased lawsuits if this law passes.”

Legislative recommendations based on the task force on the availability of homeowners insurance in the coastal region await action in the fall. “This legislative package represents a reasoned and comprehensive response to coastal insurance issues in New Jersey,” Cleasby said.

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