Despite an initial rush of proposed legislation aimed at dealing with the problems related to mold claims and homeowners insurance, very few bills have been enacted in 2003, according to the Alliance of American Insurers.
“Compared with 2002, when only a handful of bills were introduced, 2003 has seen an onslaught of would-be solutions to the mold issue,” Alliance director of Claims Kirk Hansen said. “But as the legislative sessions come to a close, we’ve seen only a small number of bills actually passed, and most of those have been positive bills that will help the situation.
“So far in 2003, 56 bills have been introduced in 21 states. Only 10 bills have been signed into law while 29 did not pass and 17 remain in committee or appear destined to die without making it to a vote.”
Hansen said several of the bills have dealt with setting standards or licensing procedures for mold inspectors and remediators as lawmakers have tried to stop unethical fly-by-night opportunists from passing themselves off as experts in the field of environmental remediation. Others have focused on public education programs about mold.
Texas, which leads the nation in water damage and mold-related claims and lawsuits, had 15 bills introduced in the legislature, but only three have been signed into law.
“We are happy to report that attempts to establish exposure or air-quality standards at the state level have failed, largely due to the efforts of insurers to educate lawmakers about the facts related to mold,” said Hansen. “Mold is everywhere, and scientists say there is no way to establish a standard for permissible exposure limits in homes or buildings.
“We are hopeful that the hysteria related to mold has died down some and lawmakers and regulators have begun to enact rational approaches that allow insurers to either exclude mold from homeowner policies or set limits for mold-related claims. As this happens, the trial bar is no longer able to take advantage of the mold hysteria. The lawsuits that helped drive homeowners prices upward in the past couple of years will no longer be the pot of gold they once were.”
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