Richard P. Hastings, a CT personal injury lawyer with the offices of Hastings, Cohan & Walsh, LLP, was recently asked to testify at the Connecticut General Assembly, Committee on Insurance and Real Estate, as an expert in uninsured and underinsured motorist law. He was asked to testify as to raised Bill # 5364, An Act Requiring Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage to be Optional and Concerning Underinsured Motorist Conversion Coverage. The stated purpose of the bill was to make uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage optional rather than compulsory and to require insurers that write automobile liability insurance in the state to provide UIM conversion coverage to uninsured’s at no cost if such insurer failed to offer, or disclose the availability of, such coverage or fails to procure a signed informed consent form from insured who declines such coverage.
Attorney Hastings testified in opposition to the provision that would make uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage optional rather than mandatory. Attorney Hastings indicated that this act could potentially benefit insurance companies while creating dire economic consequences for people who were injured in accidents by people who either have no insurance or insignificant limits of liability to properly compensate the injured party
for their damages. Attorney Hastings went on to report that according to a recent Insurance Research Council study, almost 10% of people that operate motor vehicles in Connecticut do not have any insurance at all.
Attorney Hastings then testified in support of the provision that would require insurance companies to provide UIM conversion coverage to an insured, at no cost, if the insurance company did not comply with the requirements of our underinsured motorist conversion coverage statute which is located at 38a-336a. Currently this statute requires insurance companies to provide a description of coverage, the premium cost and the availability of such coverage which is to be provided to the insured in a conspicuous manner on the informed consent form specified in Connecticut General Statutes section 38a-336. Further, the insured would have to sign the aforesaid form to the extent that conversion coverage was not elected. The current statute does not provide for a penalty for the insurance company’s
failure to comply.
Attorney Hastings further testified that it was important that the committee understand the importance of protecting its citizens from negligent drivers who either do not have any insurance or do not have enough insurance to properly compensate the injured party for their damages. It was also important that the General Assembly enact legislation which provides a penalty for a requirement of the statute were currently one does not exist. Attorney Hastings has written 14 books, including a book on Connecticut insurance law, his firm has produced over 150 educational videos on a variety of accident and injury topics, he was a syndicated legal columnist, he is a contributor to the Connecticut Law Tribune, he is a New England Super Lawyer, he is AV rated by Martindale, its highest rating, and is listed in its Bar Registry of Preeminent Lawyers, and he has been named one of the top 100 trial lawyers in Connecticut by the National Trial Lawyers.