Insurer-bad faith bill advances
10:37 am, February 28th, 2013
A bill that would give insurers at least 30 days to respond to a settlement before a bad faith claim could be brought against them has passed one chamber of the Georgia General Assembly.
State representatives approved House Bill 336 on Wednesday in a 163-0 vote.
HB 336 pertains only to torts claiming personal injury, bodily injury or death arising from the use of a motor vehicle. It also is limited to regulating offers of settlement submitted prior to the filing of a lawsuit.
The bill is the product of negotiations among a secret group of plaintiffs’ and insurance defense lawyers convened by the speaker of the House earlier this year. Its lead sponsor is Rep. Jay Powell, R-Camilla, a general practice lawyer and former mayor.
HB 336 also would require that all settlement offers contain specific information, such as the amount of payment and release details, and would allow insurers to request clarification on the facts of the case without that request constituting a counteroffer.
The Georgia Trial Lawyers Association, which fought legislation last session that sought to regulate bad faith claims and Holt demands, said it accepts HB 336. The Georgia Chamber of Commerce says it supports codifying and extending the time for response to demand letters and clarifying who the third party insurer must pay.