2910 North 44th Street, Suite 210, Phoenix, Arizona 85018-7256 · (602) 912-8456 · FAX: (602) 912-8452

Contact: Greg Harris 97-10

Executive Assistant Director FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

602/912-8451 July 9, 1997




John A. Greene, the Director of the Arizona Department Of Insurance announced today the issuance of the Consumer Information And Coverage Selection Forms required by Senate Bill 1445. This new law, involving the sale of motor vehicle liability insurance in Arizona, was enacted by the legislature during the recently completed legislative session. The forms advise consumers about the available coverages, explain these coverages, and identify some of the factors consumers should take into account when buying motor vehicle insurance coverage. The forms explain bodily injury, property damage, uninsured motorist, underinsured motorist, collision, comprehensive, and medical payments coverages.

Separate forms have been drafted to be used by insurers, one directed at traditional consumers and the other directed at businesses that purchase motor vehicle insurance. The Department developed the separate forms to address the unique issues that consumers in these two markets should consider when buying motor vehicle insurance.

A referendum petition has been taken out to refer parts of Senate Bill 1445 to the voters. In the preparation of the Consumer Information and Coverage Selection Forms, the Department made every effort to minimize the impact of the referendum upon the final content of the form. The Department anticipates that only two sentences from each form will have to be removed from the coverage selection options for uninsured motorist and underinsured motorist coverage if portions of Senate Bill 1445 are suspended due to the petition effort. These sentences each read as follows: "Not offered by this insurer. You may buy this coverage from another insurer."

"Pending an official notification from the Secretary of State concerning the petition effort and the Department's release of revised forms, the Department will consider the use of the Consumer Information and Coverage Selection Forms to be in compliance with the regulatory requirements of Senate Bill 1445 as enacted by the Legislature," said Greene.

In the meantime, insurers and consumers alike should be aware that the petition gathering effort may result in the need to make these changes to the forms. Insurers should consider the prospect that portions of the law may be suspended in determining how many forms to print. Further, insurers should also consider preparing the prescribed forms with the idea that portions of the form may have to be removed.

"Every effort will be made to ensure that consumers receive accurate information about the coverage selection options available to them, while at the same time giving due consideration to the possibility that the forms insurers must use may have to be changed. Significantly, in a survey of insurers, each respondent has indicated that it intends to continue to market motor vehicle coverages, including uninsured motorist and underinsured motorist coverages, in precisely the same manner as before the enactment of Senate Bill 1445," said Greene.

The portions of Senate Bill 1445 that may be suspended if the petition gathering effort succeeds involve the obligation of insurers to sell uninsured motorist and underinsured motorist coverages in this state. "For insurers that intend to continue selling these coverages, regardless of the law, the petition gathering effort should have no immediate impact on them," said Greene.

Since the release of the English versions of the Consumer Information And Coverage Selection Forms, the Department has received a number of questions regarding the use of these forms. When the Department issues the Spanish version of these forms, the circular letter issued to announce the translations will also be used to address some of these questions. Among the issues to be addressed will be the flexibility of insurers to fashion the forms to reflect coverage options offered by the insurer, the inclusion of control numbers, and the addition of other text to distinguish the two forms and the manner is which text may be emphasized.

The English language version of the form can be viewed from the Department's Internet web site. The address for this site is http://www.state.az.us/id. The work on the translation of the forms into Spanish will be completed before the July 21 effective date for Senate Bill 1445 and will also be able to be viewed from the Department's Internet web site.