94th Congress > Senate > Vote 718

Date: 1976-03-31

Result: 51-47

Vote Subject Matter: Social Welfare / Domestic Social Policy

Sponsor: ALLEN, James Browning (D-AL)

Bill number: S354

Description: TO RECOMMIT TO THE COMMITTEE ON COMMERCE S. 354.

Bill summary: (Motion to recommit to the Committee on Commerce passed Senate, roll call #107 (49-45)) National Standards for No-Fault Insurance Act - =Title I: General Provisions= - Requires each State in which a no-fault plan is in effect to require every owner of a motor vehicle to provide continuous security with respect to that motor vehicle to cover the payment of basic restoration benefits, subject to the limitations and benefits of the no-fault plan in the State of the principal place of residence of (...show more) the victim-claimant. Permits such security to be provided by a contract of insurance, self-insurance, or a government's obligation. Requires States to establish and implement, or approve and supervise, a plan to assure that security for the payment of basic restoration benefits and any other required benefits or specified tort liability damages is conveniently and practicably obtainable by all motor vehicle owners in that State. States that such plan may provide for the transfer of individuals from such plan into the ordinary market; may be implemented by the assignment of applicants among insurers, by pooling or any joint insuring arrangement, or by any other method; and shall require all insurers writing no-fault insurance in the State to participate in the plan. Requires rates and terms under the plan to be first approved by the State insurance commissioner and be reasonable and not unfairly discriminatory among insured individuals. Prohibits insurers from cancelling or modifying insurance contracts, except with 30 days notice for nonpayment of premiums or cancellations of the insured's driver's license by the State. Makes no-fault benefits payable monthly as loss accrues, and makes them overdue if not paid within 30 days after receipt by the restoration obligor of each submission of reasonable proof. Permits a claim for no-fault benefits to be discharged by a settlement agreement for an agreed amount payable in installments or in a lump sum, if the reasonably anticipated net loss does not exceed $2,500. Provides that if no-fault benefits have not been paid for loss arising other than from death, a civil action therefor may be commenced not later than 2 years after the victim suffers the loss and either knows, or in the exercise of reasonable diligence should have known, that the loss was caused by the accident, or not later than 4 years after the accident, whichever is earlier. Makes an assignment of or an agreement to assign any right in accordance with this Act for loss accruing in the future unenforceable except as to benefits for: (1) work loss to secure payment of alimony, maintenance, or child support; or (2) allowable expense to the extent that the benefits are for the cost of products, services, or accommodations provided or to be provided by the assignee. States that no-fault benefits for allowable expense are exempt from garnishment, attachment, execution, and any other process or claim, except upon the claim of a creditor who has provided products, services, or accommodations to the extent benefits are for allowable expense for those products, services, or accommodations. Provides that if overdue no-fault benefits are recovered by a victim or a survivor in a civil action against a restoration obligor, or if such benefits are paid by a restoration obligor after it receives notice that a victim or a survivor has retained a specified attorney, such restoration obligor shall pay such attorney a reasonable fee, based upon the actual time expended. States that if a State no-fault plan for motor vehicle insurance in accordance with national standards or title III is in effect on the date when the accident resulting in injury occurs, a victim or the survivor or survivors of a deceased victim may obtain basic restoration benefits through the assigned claims plan established under this title, in the State of principal place of residence, if any, of the victim or deceased victim, or if none, in the State, in which the accident resulting in injury occurs, under specified conditions, including where benefits for allowable expense have been provided for such victim by the applicable restoration obligor in an aggregate total amount of $250,000. Permits restoration obligors providing basic restoration insurance in a State to organize and maintain, subject to approval and regulation by the commissioner, an assigned claims bureau and an assigned claims plan in order to provide for the timely and efficient payment of basic restoration benefits. Requires restoration obligors to participate in the cost of the assigned claims bureau and the assigned claims plan in that State, including the cost of reimbursing assignee participating insurers for claims paid by such insurers for deductibles and exclusions. Exempts from such assessment of costs, pooling, and participation in cost restoration obligors which obligate themselves to provide for each victim basic restoration benefits for allowable expense without limitation on the total amount. Requires that insurance commissioner, in accordance with applicable State law, to regulate restoration obligors providing security covering a motor vehicle in his State. Requires the commissioner to provide the means to inform purchasers of insurance, in a manner adequate to permit them to compare prices, about rates being charged by insurers for no-fault benefits and tort liability coverage. Provides that a no-fault plan for motor vehicle insurance in accordance with national standards or title III shall include a program for: (1) evaluating and supervising emergency medical services, and medical and vocational rehabilitation services; (2) assuring the accountability of suppliers and providers of such services for the quality thereof, and for the costs thereof, in accordance with applicable standards; and (3) assuring that such services are available. Requires restoration obligors providing security for the payment of basic restoration benefits to be obligated to provide, and each contract of insurance for the payment of basic restoration benefits to be construed to contain, coverage sufficient to satisfy the requirements for security covering a motor vehicle in any State. Permits a State no-fault plan for motor vehicle insurance in accordance with national standards or title III to grant a restoration obligor a right of reimbursement from any other restoration obligor, based upon a determination of fault, for no-fault benefits which it has paid or is obligated to pay. Directs restoration obligors providing security for the payment of basic restoration benefits to pay or otherwise provide such benefits without regard to fault to each individual entitled thereto, pursuant to the terms and conditions of the no-fault plan for motor vehicle insurance applicable thereto. Requires that a State no-fault plan in accordance with national standards or title III be limited to the statutory obligation of the basic restoration obligor to provide basic restoration benefits for allowable expenses to an aggregate total of $250,000 for any particular victim. Provides that a claim against the United States (or a Federal agency) as a restoration obligor for injury arising out of the maintenance or use of a Federal motor vehicle which is a secured vehicle, or out of the maintenance or use of any motor vehicle which is operated by an employee of the Federal Government during the course of official business, shall be governed by this Act. =Title II: National Standards= - States that a State no-fault plan for motor vehicle insurance is in accordance with national standards only if such a plan includes provisions which meet or exceed each of the national standards and if such plan does not include any provisions that are inconsistent, in whole or in part, with the national standards. Establishes an independent instrumentality within the Department of Transportation, to be known as the No-Fault Insurance Plan Review Board. Preempts any provision of any State law that would prevent the establishment in such a State of a no-fault plan for motor vehicle insurance in accordance with national standards. Provides that if the chief executive officer of a State has not certified that such State has enacted a no-fault plan for motor vehicle insurance in accordance with national standards, as of the second anniversary of the date of enactment of this Act, the Review Board shall meet within 90 days of such second anniversary and issue a declaration that such State does not have no-fault plan for motor vehicle insurance that is in accordance with national standards. States that the alternative Federal no-fault plan for motor vehicle insurance in accordance with title III shall become applicable in a State 90 days following the issuance of a declaration by the Review Board that such State does not have a no-fault plan for motor vehicle insurance that is in accordance with national standards. Provides, that in no event shall such alternative Federal no-fault plan become applicable in any State prior to the second anniversary of the date of enactment of this Act. Requires that whenever the alternative Federal no-fault plan for motor vehicle insurance in accordance with title III is in effect in a State, such plan shall be implemented, administered, operated, and maintained exclusively by the Secretary. Makes a declaration made by the Review Board that such State's no-fault plan for motor vehicle insurance is not in accordance with national standards subject to judicial review in the United States court of appeals for the circuit in which is located such State or in the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, at the option of a State only. Prohibits a State establishing a no-fault plan for motor vehicle insurance in accordance with national standards from limiting basic restoration benefits for allowable expenses; or from limiting basic restoration benefits for work loss. Abolishes tort liability with respect to any injury that takes place in a State in which a no-fault plan for motor vehicle insurance in accordance with national standards is in effect on the date of the accident resulting in such injury, if such injury arises out of the maintenance or use of a motor vehicle, except that: (1) an owner of a motor vehicle involved in an accident remains liable if, at the time of the accident, the vehicle was not a secured vehicle; (2) a person in the business of designing, manufacturing, repairing, servicing, or otherwise maintaining motor vehicles remains liable for injury arising out of a defect in such motor vehicle which is caused or not corrected by an act or omission in the course of such business; and (3) a person remains liable for damages for noneconomic detriment to a victim who sustains injury which results in: (A) death, serious and permanent disfigurement, or other serious and permanent injury; or (B) more than 90 continuous days of total disability. Sets forth a method of computing gross income losses for victims. Subtracts from loss all benefits or advantages that an individual receives, or is entitled to receive, from social security, workmen's compensation, any State-required temporary, nonoccupational disability insurance, and all other benefits (except the proceeds of life insurance) received by or available to an individual because of the injury from any government. Requires insurers providing basic restoration insurance to offer specified additional coverage. Sets forth a formula for adjustments in benefits at three-year intervals beginning in 1978. =Title III: Alternative Federal No-Fault Plan= - Sets forth the provisions of an alternative Federal no-fault insurance plan, which is to be composed of title I provisions with specified exceptions. Sets forth limitations on basic restoration benefits and restrictions on tort liability.

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Bill titles: A bill to regulate commerce by establishing a nationwide system to restore motor vehicle accident victims and by requiring no-fault motor vehicle insurance as a condition, precedent to using a motor vehicle on public roadways.

Original source documents: Digest of the Congressional Record vol. 122-47, p. S4734;

Links for more info on the vote: congress.gov

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