Attorney Richard Hastings of the law firm of Hastings, Cohan & Walsh, LLP recently testified before the Connecticut General Assembly's insurance and real estate committee regarding raised Bill number 5364. The bill, entitled "an act requiring uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage to be optional and concerning UIM conversion coverage." Mr. Hastings was asked to testify before this committee as a result of his experience in the areas of uninsured and underinsured motorist law in Connecticut.
The purpose of the proposed bill was to make uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage optional rather than mandatory and to require that insurance companies that write motor vehicle liability insurance policies in Connecticut provide underinsured motorist conversion coverage to uninsured at no cost if the insurance company fails to offer, or disclosed of the availability of, such coverage or fails to procure a signed informed consent form from an insured who declines such coverage. The testimony was given at the legislative office building in Hartford.
Mr. Hastings indicated that CT currently requires that any motor vehicle liability insurance policy must include uninsured motorist and underinsured motorist coverage. The purpose behind this mandatory coverage is to protect
those who purchased insurance coverage in the event they are injured by negligent driver who either has no insurance coverage whatsoever or does not have sufficient limits of liability to properly compensate the injured party. Attorney Hastings advised the committee that a recent insurance Institute study indicated that 9.5% of all drivers on Connecticut roadways do not have any insurance coverage at all and to make uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage optional rather than mandatory would be incredibly bad idea as it could have a very negative effect upon an injured party's ability to obtain timely medical care and treatment and provide for the repayment of any liens that result from this care and treatment.
Attorney Hastings also testified in favor of the amendment which would require that insurance companies provide underinsured motorist conversion coverage to an insured pursuant to Connecticut Gen. statute 38a - 336a which
requires an insurance company to obtain a written consent form signed by the insured if that party does not wish to have underinsured motorist conversion coverage. Currently there is no penalty in the statute for an insurance
company's noncompliance with this requirement.
Mr. Hastings has recently completed a book on Connecticut insurance law. Additionally, Attorney Hastings has written 14 other books, he was a syndicated legal columnist, has helped to produce over 150 educational
videos on accident and injury law in Connecticut and is a contributor to the Connecticut Law Tribune. He is a New England Super Lawyer, is AV rated by Martindale, and has been named one of the top 100 trial lawyers in
Connecticut by the National Trial Lawyers. He can be reached at 888-842-8466 or by visiting the firm's website at www.HCWLAW.com