Nev. Legislature Wraps Up Session

June 9, 2005

The Nevada Legislature wrapped up its session this week, passing a number of insurance-related bills, but failed to take an opportunity to enact proposals that would have modernized Nevada’s regulation of insurance rates and given insurers information to help in adjusting auto insurance claims, reports the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI).

One of the proposals, which stalled in committee, was contained in legislation sponsored by PCI. The bill, AB 326, would have created a flex system for personal lines rates and allowed Nevada insurers to change rates within a 10 percent range without prior approval.

“This would have been helpful to consumers because insurers could have responded more quickly to market conditions with new rates and programs. Allowing insurers to act more swiftly would in turn increase competition, which is always a positive for consumers.” said Sam Sorich, PCI’s western regional vice president.

The other missed opportunity was a PCI-sponsored amendment to legislation regulating post-accident information contained in event recorder devices, or “black boxes,” which are contained on some newer cars.

Sorich said the amendment would have allowed insurers access to the accident information to help prevent fraud and adjust claims with better information. However, the amendment to AB 315 was defeated in committee earlier in the session.

The Legislature did approve a number of other insurance-related measures during the session. Some have already been signed into law.

BILLS SIGNED INTO LAW

AB 137 requires an insurance company to give a claimant a written notice when the insurer makes a claim payment of $500 or more to a person other then the claimant. Signed into law on June 6.

AB 468 specifies the cases that must be submitted to nonbinding arbitration. Under existing law, civil actions filed in district court for damages that do not exceed $40,000 per plaintiff must be submitted to nonbinding arbitration. AB 468 changes the amount to $50,000. Signed into law on May 18.

SB 175 limits the fees that a towing yard may charge when a vehicle is placed into storage after an accident. The bill also authorizes insurers to receive accident reports from law enforcement agencies. Signed into law on June 1.

BILLS PENDING ON THE GOVERNOR’S DESK

AB 254 would increase the fines that may be imposed on a workers compensation insurer for delaying the payment of benefits to claimants and for other specified acts. The bill would expand the acts which may subject an insurer to fines. Sent to the governor on June 4.

AB 315 would require an auto manufacturer to disclose the fact that the vehicle is equipped with an event recording device. The bill would restrict the dissemination of the data recorded by the event recording device. Sent to the governor on June 3.

AB 338 is the Division of Insurance’s omnibus bill. The measure addresses a number of issues including captive insurers, medical discount plans, credit insurance, risk retention group fees and producer compensation. Sent to the governor on June 6.

AB 364 would require a workers compensation insurer that is paying compensation to an injured employee for a permanent total disability to provide the employee with an annual accounting of payments. The bill would also require an insurer to reopen a workers compensation claim to consider the payment for a permanent partial disability if specified conditions exist. Sent to the governor on June 3.

In most cases, bills signed by the governor go into effect Oct. 1, 2005.

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