The Colorado General Assembly, which adjourned yesterday, took a commonsense approach to insurance-related legislation during its 2009 Session, according to the American Insurance Association.
Bills of primary concern to the AIA included HB 1344, SB 246, SB 61 and SB 103. According to AIA, legislators carefully considered the economic ramifications of each of these bills and correctly chose to defeat them based in part on their recognition of the importance of maintaining Colorado’s competitive business environment.
HB 1344, legislation that initially would have increased the cap on non-economic damages for medical negligence, was resoundingly defeated in the House following a bipartisan vote on April 22.
“This was an attempt by the plaintiffs’ bar to roll back Colorado’s civil justice reforms which have been in place for a number of years,” said Fred Bosse, vice president of state affairs for AIA. “Legislators correctly recognized that this legislation would have increased litigation costs and added to the economic burdens consumers are already facing in this difficult economy.”
SB 246, another bill advanced by the plaintiffs’ bar, sought to overturn the state Supreme Court’s ruling that upheld construction defect tort reform passed in a previous session and, appropriately, was defeated by the Legislature.
SB 61, a bill requiring that utilization review be performed only by health care professionals licensed in Colorado, was defeated in the House in a close vote on April 21.
“This legislation would have placed an unreasonable burden on insurers writing business in the state. It was not a bill conducive to facilitating Colorado’s insurance market,” Bosse said. As a general practice, insurers can utilize the services of an out-of-state health care professional so long as he/she is licensed by his/her domiciliary state.
SB 103, legislation that would have prohibited insurers from providing financial incentives to encourage or induce the denial of a claim or cancellation/non-renewal of a policy, was defeated in House committee on April 6. “In practice, insurers do not provide financial incentives for claims adjusters to specifically deny a claim,” said Bosse. “Oddly enough, the way this bill was drafted as introduced, it could have prohibited a claims adjuster from collecting a paycheck,” added Bosse.
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