Quake Claims Bill Continues to Shake Up Industry Groups

August 23, 2000

On Monday, the California Assembly passed SB 1899, a bill that lifts for one year the expired statute of limitations on damage claims from the 1994 Northridge Earthquake.

Both the National Association of Independent Insurers (NAII) and the Personal Insurance Federation of California (PIFC) believe that there is no need for SB 1899. The bill, authored by California Senate President Pro Tem John Burton (D-San Francisco), applies to individuals and businesses who have made previous contact with their insurers, and who have not reached a previous court resolution or a written settlement on the claim in which the insured had legal representation.

In stressing his opposition to the bill, Dan Dunmoyer, PIFC president, made his point clear. Rather than re-open 600,000 claims files, the legislature needs to work with the industry to resolve the few remaining claims, he said.

Sam Sorich, vice president and western regional manager for NAII, feels that the bill, even with recent amendments, “is still vaguely worded” and is an “open door for fraud.” The amendments narrowed the scope of who can file claims. SB 1899 now heads back to the Senate for concurrence on Assembly amendments and could arrive on Governor Gray Davis’ desk as early as Friday.

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