Minnesota trial lawyers (the Minnesota Association of Justice) are back with their proposal to prohibit family exclusions in boat and umbrella policies. Last year, the bill received a great deal of media attention due to TV journalist Courtney Godfrey’s injury while boating with her husband. She was thrown from their boat and struck by the propeller resulting in the amputation of her lower left leg. The trial lawyers and the Godfreys contend that insurers consistently fail to disclose to consumers that the family exclusion exists. Boaters are unaware of the exclusion and therefore it should be prohibited.
The MIIAB and others in the industry were able to raise concerns about the bill last year and it did not advance. This year, the bill’s chances of passage are greater given the control of the House by Democrats who are more supportive of the trial lawyers.
The bill is already scheduled for hearing this week in the House Commerce Committee. It is authored by Rep. Zack Stevenson (DFL – Coon Rapids) House File 476 and Senator Carrie Rudd (Republican – Breezy Point) Senate File 1002.
We encourage you to once again contact your state legislators to ask them to oppose the passage of HF 476 and SF 1002. Here is why:
- The family exclusion is in law to remove the incentive for family members to collude to fraudulently collect on their insurance.
- Elimination of the family exclusion would only promote more lawsuits.
- More lawsuits will increase insurance costs for everyone.
Please act as soon as possible to let legislators hear our concerns!
You can find your legislators with directions on how to contact them at the following MN State Legislature website: https://www.leg.state.mn.us/leg/faq/faq?id=47