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Legislation that will result in consumers and businesses paying more for auto insurance due to litigation costs advanced in the Senate this week, 21-9. 

The “New Jersey Insurance Fair Conduct Act,” also known as the “bad faith” bill, opposed by NJBIA, proposes to create a private cause of action for consumers regarding perceived unfair or unreasonable practices by insurers. 

NJBIA Chief Government Affairs Officer Chrissy Buteas said, if enacted, bill S-1559 would open the floodgates for lawsuits that would be extremely costly for insurers to defend or settle. In testimony submitted to the Senate, Buteas noted the state Department of Banking and Insurance already has the authority to investigate unfair acts and claims by insurers.

“This bill will only enable unscrupulous counsel to target consumers with meritless lawsuits in the hopes of obtaining settlements from companies concerned about litigation costs,” Buteas said. “The end result will be consumers and businesses paying the price in the form of higher insurance premiums.”

Here’s how the Senate voted on the bill:

Sen.    1/28/2021  –  3RDG FINAL PASSAGE   –  Yes {21}  No {9}  Not Voting {10}    –  Roll Call

Addiego, Dawn Marie – Yes Bateman, Christopher – Not Voting Beach, James – Not Voting
Brown, Chris A. – Yes Bucco, Anthony M. – No Cardinale, Gerald – Not Voting
Codey, Richard J. – Yes Connors, Christopher J. – Not Voting Corrado, Kristin M. – No
Cruz-Perez, Nilsa I. – Yes Cryan, Joseph P. – Yes Cunningham, Sandra B. – Not Voting
Diegnan, Patrick J., Jr. – Yes Doherty, Michael J. – No Gill, Nia H. – Yes
Gopal, Vin – Yes Greenstein, Linda R. – Yes Holzapfel, James W. – No
Kean, Thomas H., Jr. – No Lagana, Joseph A. – Not Voting Madden, Fred H., Jr. – Yes
O’Scanlon, Declan J., Jr. – Not Voting Oroho, Steven V. – No Pennacchio, Joseph – No
Pou, Nellie – Yes Rice, Ronald L. – Yes Ruiz, M. Teresa – Yes
Sacco, Nicholas J. – Yes Sarlo, Paul A. – Yes Scutari, Nicholas P. – Yes
Singer, Robert W. – No Singleton, Troy – Not Voting Smith, Bob – Yes
Stack, Brian P. – Yes Sweeney, Stephen M. – Yes Testa, Michael L., Jr. – Yes
Thompson, Samuel D. – No Turner, Shirley K. – Not Voting Vitale, Joseph F. – Yes