Calif. Assembly Judiciary Committee Considers Quake Bill

June 21, 2000

June 21, 2000 9:15 a.m. CDT

The California Assembly Judiciary Committee was scheduled to hear SB 1899 yesterday. The bill, sponsored by Senator John Burton, D-San Francisco, would reopen (for one year from the enactment of the bill) claims related to the 1994 Northridge Earthquake which are now barred because the statute of limitations has expired.

At the hearing, the National Association of Independent Insurers (NAII) testified against SB 1899. The group opposes the bill because it places insurance companies in the impossible position of trying to determine whether damage claimed now actually occurred six years ago.

SB 1899 would apply to any personal injury or property damage, commercial or individual, arising from the Northridge quake.

“It’s terrible public policy,” said Sam Sorich, vice president and western regional manager for NAII. “SB 1899 is inviting fraud and providing no real consumer benefit.”

Insurance companies handled more than 400,000 claims and paid more than $15 billion in insured losses arising from the devastating quake. On May 24, the California Senate passed SB 1899 despite opposition from industry groups.

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