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OLR Research Report

The Connecticut General Assembly


July 6, 1994 94-R-0587


FROM: Jerome Harleston, Senior Attorney

RE: Motor Vehicle Insurance

You asked for a chart comparing a Massachusetts senate bill eliminating no-fault insurance with Public Act 93-297, An Act Concerning Automobile Insurance Reform.


Massachusetts Senate bill 1543, An Act Relative To Restructuring the Automobile Insurance System was originally introduced in 1993 (Senate Bill 1880). Because the House of Representative took no action on it last year, the bill was carried forward to the 1994 legislative session.

Table 1 compares the main automobile insurance features of Senate bill 1542 with Connecticut law.

Table I

Automobile Insurance Reform

Provision Connecticut Massachusetts


(Public Act 93-297 An Act Concerning Automobile Insurance Reform)

(Senate Bill 1543, An Act Relative to Restructuring The Automobile Insurance System)

Provision Connecticut Massachusetts

No-Fault Coverage

Repealed mandatory purchase of basic reparations benefit (BRB) coverage that paid the medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses of accident victims without regard to who was at fault for the accident. Standard coverage was $5,000.

Repeals mandatory purchase of personal injury protection (PIP) coverage that pays the medical bills, lost wages, and the ordinary and necessary expenses of accident victims without regard to who was at fault for the accident. Standard coverage is $2,000.

Exemption From Tort Liability

Repealed restriction that prohibited victim from suing at-fault driver unless victim (1) incurred over $400 in medical expenses, (2) suffered permanent injury, (3) fractured any bone, (4) suffered permanent significant disfigurement, (5) suffered permanent loss of bodily function, (6) suffered loss of body member or,(7) died.

Repeals restriction that prohibits victims from suing at-fault drivers unless victim (1) incurs over $2,000 in medical bills, (2) looses a body member, (3) suffers permanent and serious disfigurement, (4) looses sight or hearing or, (5) dies.

Provision Connecticut Massachusetts

Coverage Options

Requires insurers to offer uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage with limits of liability two times the insured's bodily injury liability limits under the policy.

Requires insurers to offer medical payments coverage with limits no less than $5,000 and up to limits of at least $100,000; bodily injury liability limits in an amount that brings the total bodily injury liability coverage available for any one accident to $25,000 per person and $500,000 per accident, property damage liability limits in an amount that brings the total property damage liability coverage available for any one accident to $50,000; uninsured motorist limits in an amount up to the bodily injury liability limits, of the policy, and under insured motorist limits in an amount up to the bodily injury liability limits of the policy.


Requires insurers to offer "new" underinsured motorist conversion coverage with liability limits two times the insured's bodily injury liability limits under the policy.

Includes motor vehicle for whom the insurer is unable to pay the legal liability of its insured because of insolvency within the meaning of uninsured motor vehicle.


Provision Connecticut Massachusetts


Dispute Resolution


Gives parties to motor vehicle accidents related lawsuits option to refer dispute to alternative dispute resolution (ADR) program that may or may not include binding arbitration.

Requires Superior Court judges to establish an expedited claims procedure in which plaintiffs limit their claim to no more than $75,000 and the parties to motor vehicle accident related lawsuits agree to use the procedure.


Requires before initiating any lawsuit brought because of bodily injury, sickness, or disease related to a motor vehicle accident that it be submitted to mediation. Court may exempt small claims from procedure. Failure of plaintiff to request or complete mediation may not bar the filing of the complaint or be grounds for dismissal. Bad faith failure is grounds for court imposed sanctions. Mediation may be waived for good cause or if parties agree to binding arbitration. Good cause includes advanced age, illness, or adverse medical condition of any party or witness; the absence of bodily injury insurance, or finding that action filed to prevent expiration of statue of limitation. If civil action begun before completion of mediation, court must assign matter to mediator.

Office of Consumer Affairs must establish list of attorneys and other people experienced in evaluating motor vehicle personal injury claims and mediation who are willing to serve as mediators. Work product prepared by mediator and any case file of


the mediator is confidential and not subject to disclosure. In any tort action which has not been resolved through mediation the party defending against the claim must make an offer of judgment.

Notice and Disclosure

Requires request for uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage in amounts less than the amount of the insured's bodily injury liability coverage be accompanied by an informed consent form signed by the insured. The form, among other requirements, must include a statement that indicates that when signed the insured understands that he is choosing a reduced premium and also choosing not to purchase certain valuable coverage which protects him and his family. The statement further says that if the insured is uncertain about how the decision to purchase reduced coverage will affect him, he should get advice from his insurance agent or another qualified advisor.

Insurers must provide applications for insurance that (1) explain the various choices of coverage available to insureds, (2) breaksdown the per person and per accident or aggregate limits the insured has the option of purchasing, and (3) lists the premium cost for each coverage in the geographic zone where applicant resides.

Every new or renewal policy must include a notice about the rights and obligations of parties in mediation.

Provision Connecticut Massachusetts

Health Insurance

Repeals basic reparations benefit coverage. Repeal has the effect of shifting medical care cost to health insurance where accident victim is covered by a health insurance policy. Insurance commissioner encourages through regulations automobile insurers to voluntarily offer insureds medical payments coverage in lieu of BRB.

No payment from the medical payments provision of a motor vehicle liability policy is required if any injured person is covered by a health insurance policy or any other third party compensation system designated by the commissioner as providing an acceptable levels of benefit.

Premium Savings

Requires insurers to refile their base premium rates for the coverages established by the law to reflect the repeal of no-fault and any additional premium savings attributable to the law. Average rate for mandatory coverages decreased 11.6%.

Savings from changes must reflect a 10% reduction for annualized premiums for bodily injury coverage beginning March 11, 1994.


Requires from January 1, 1994 to December 31, 1997 rates for bodily injury liability and uninsured and underinsured motorist coverages be filed subject to prior approval.

Rate of payment by automobile insurers for health care services that are compensable must be established by rate setting commission. But automobile and health insurer may agree that a different rate for services apply.

Provision Connecticut Massachusetts


Commissioner must study the effects of the adjusted territorial rating formula in order to reduce rates for consumers in high cost territories. They must review the existing territorial rating adjustments, which is 25% of the statewide average, and review other adjustments up to and including 50% of the statewide average.

Commissioner is directed to conduct a study to revise the private passenger territory system and the fixed and established rating system of the commonwealth. The study must include examining (1) prohibiting geographic discrimination in establishing rates, (2) establishing rates on a statewide basis, (3) the designation of territories into geographic zones, (4) the feasibility of establishing a classification of risk to include a designation of not less than five zones; (5) the feasibility of basing rates on actual loss experience, or (6) the feasibility of authorizing that all optional private passenger automobile insurance coverages be sold on a competitive basis based on rates presented to the commissioner.


The commissioner must also study the establishment of a consumer rate information service. The study must review the cost and programmatic steps necessary to implement the service.