130th Ohio General Assembly
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(123rd General Assembly)
(Substitute Senate Bill Number 267)



AN ACT
To amend sections 3937.18 and 3937.31 of the Revised Code relative to an insured's recovery under uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage regarding wrongful death and other actions, coverages under renewal, new, or replacement policies, modification of the terms of a policy at the beginning of a policy period, and exclusions from the definitions of "uninsured motor vehicle" and "underinsured motor vehicle."

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Ohio:

SECTION 1 .  That sections 3937.18 and 3937.31 of the Revised Code be amended to read as follows:

Sec. 3937.18.  (A) No automobile liability or motor vehicle liability policy of insurance insuring against loss resulting from liability imposed by law for bodily injury or death suffered by any person arising out of the ownership, maintenance, or use of a motor vehicle shall be delivered or issued for delivery in this state with respect to any motor vehicle registered or principally garaged in this state unless both of the following coverages are offered to persons insured under the policy for loss due to bodily injury or death suffered by such insureds:

(1) Uninsured motorist coverage, which shall be in an amount of coverage equivalent to the automobile liability or motor vehicle liability coverage and shall provide protection for bodily injury, sickness, or disease, including death under provisions approved by the superintendent of insurance, for the protection of insureds thereunder who are legally entitled to recover damages from owners or operators of uninsured motor vehicles because of bodily injury, sickness, or disease, including death, suffered by any person insured under the policy.

For purposes of division (A)(1) of this section, an insured is legally entitled to recover damages if the insured is able to prove the elements of the insured's claim that are necessary to recover damages from the owner or operator of the uninsured motor vehicle. The fact that the owner or operator of the uninsured motor vehicle has an immunity under Chapter 2744. of the Revised Code or a diplomatic immunity that could be raised as a defense in an action brought against the owner or operator by the insured does not affect the insured's right to recover under uninsured motorist coverage. However, any other type of statutory or common law immunity that may be a defense for the owner or operator of an uninsured motor vehicle shall also be a defense to an action brought by the insured to recover under uninsured motorist coverage.

(2) Underinsured motorist coverage, which shall be in an amount of coverage equivalent to the automobile liability or motor vehicle liability coverage and shall provide protection for insureds thereunder against loss for bodily injury, sickness, or disease, including death, suffered by any person insured under the policy, where the limits of coverage available for payment to the insured under all bodily injury liability bonds and insurance policies covering persons liable to the insured are less than the limits for the insured's uninsured motorist coverage. Underinsured motorist coverage is not and shall not be excess insurance to other applicable liability coverages, and shall be provided only to afford the insured an amount of protection not greater than that which would be available under the insured's uninsured motorist coverage if the person or persons liable were uninsured at the time of the accident. The policy limits of the underinsured motorist coverage shall be reduced by those amounts available for payment under all applicable bodily injury liability bonds and insurance policies covering persons liable to the insured.

(B) Coverages offered under division (A) of this section shall be written for the same limits of liability. No change shall be made in the limits of one of these coverages without an equivalent change in the limits of the other coverage.

(C) A named insured or applicant may reject or accept both coverages as offered under division (A) of this section, or may alternatively select both such coverages in accordance with a schedule of limits approved by the superintendent. The schedule of limits approved by the superintendent may permit a named insured or applicant to select uninsured and underinsured motorists coverages with limits on such coverages that are less than the limit of liability coverage provided by the automobile liability or motor vehicle liability policy of insurance under which the coverages are provided, but the limits shall be no less than the limits set forth in section 4509.20 of the Revised Code for bodily injury or death. A named insured's or applicant's rejection of both coverages as offered under division (A) of this section, or a named insured's or applicant's selection of such coverages in accordance with the schedule of limits approved by the superintendent, shall be in writing and shall be signed by the named insured or applicant. A named insured's or applicant's written, signed rejection of both coverages as offered under division (A) of this section, or a named insured's or applicant's written, signed selection of such coverages in accordance with the schedule of limits approved by the superintendent, shall be effective on the day signed, shall create a presumption of an offer of coverages consistent with division (A) of this section, and shall be binding on all other named insureds, insureds, or applicants.

Unless a named insured or applicant requests such coverages in writing, such coverages need not be provided in or made supplemental to a policy renewal or a new or replacement policy that provides continuing coverage to the named insured or applicant where a named insured or applicant has rejected such coverages in connection with a policy previously issued to the named insured or applicant by the same insurer or affiliate of that insurer. If a named insured or applicant has selected such coverages in connection with a policy previously issued to the named insured or applicant by the same insurer or affiliate of that insurer, with limits in accordance with the schedule of limits approved by the superintendent, such coverages need not be provided with limits in excess of the limits of liability previously issued for such coverages, unless a named insured or applicant requests in writing higher limits of liability for such coverages.

(D) For the purpose of this section, a motor vehicle shall be deemed uninsured in either of the following circumstances:

(1) The liability insurer denies coverage or is or becomes the subject of insolvency proceedings in any jurisdiction;

(2) The identity of the owner and operator of the motor vehicle cannot be determined, but independent corroborative evidence exists to prove that the bodily injury, sickness, disease, or death of the insured was proximately caused by the negligence or intentional actions of the unidentified operator of the motor vehicle. For purposes of this division, the testimony of any insured seeking recovery from the insurer shall not constitute independent corroborative evidence, unless the testimony is supported by additional evidence.

(E) In the event of payment to any person under the coverages offered under this section and subject to the terms and conditions of such coverages, the insurer making such payment to the extent thereof is entitled to the proceeds of any settlement or judgment resulting from the exercise of any rights of recovery of such person against any person or organization legally responsible for the bodily injury or death for which such payment is made, including any amount recoverable from an insurer which is or becomes the subject of insolvency proceedings, through such proceedings or in any other lawful manner. No insurer shall attempt to recover any amount against the insured of an insurer which is or becomes the subject of insolvency proceedings, to the extent of those rights against such insurer which such insured assigns to the paying insurer.

(F) The coverages offered under this section shall not be made subject to an exclusion or reduction in amount because of any workers' compensation benefits payable as a result of the same injury or death.

(G) Any automobile liability or motor vehicle liability policy of insurance that includes coverages offered under division (A) of this section or selected in accordance with division (C) of this section may, without regard to any premiums involved, include terms and conditions that preclude any and all stacking of such coverages, including but not limited to:

(1) Interfamily stacking, which is the aggregating of the limits of such coverages by the same person or two or more persons, whether family members or not, who are not members of the same household;

(2) Intrafamily stacking, which is the aggregating of the limits of such coverages purchased by the same person or two or more family members of the same household.

(H) Any automobile liability or motor vehicle liability policy of insurance that includes coverages offered under division (A) of this section or selected in accordance with division (C) of this section and that provides a limit of coverage for payment for damages for bodily injury, including death, sustained by any one person in any one automobile accident, may, notwithstanding Chapter 2125. of the Revised Code, include terms and conditions to the effect that all claims resulting from or arising out of any one person's bodily injury, including death, shall collectively be subject to the limit of the policy applicable to bodily injury, including death, sustained by one person, and, for the purpose of such policy limit shall constitute a single claim. Any such policy limit shall be enforceable regardless of the number of insureds, claims made, vehicles or premiums shown in the declarations or policy, or vehicles involved in the accident.

(I) Nothing in this section shall prohibit the inclusion of underinsured motorist coverage in any uninsured motorist coverage provided in compliance with this section.

(J) The coverages offered under division (A) of this section or selected in accordance with division (C) of this section may include terms and conditions that preclude coverage for bodily injury or death suffered by an insured under any of the following circumstances:

(1) While the insured is operating or occupying a motor vehicle owned by, furnished to, or available for the regular use of a named insured, a spouse, or a resident relative of a named insured, if the motor vehicle is not specifically identified in the policy under which a claim is made, or is not a newly acquired or replacement motor vehicle covered under the terms of the policy under which the uninsured and underinsured motorist coverages are provided;

(2) While the insured is operating or occupying a motor vehicle without a reasonable belief that the insured is entitled to do so, provided that under no circumstances will an insured whose license has been suspended, revoked, or never issued, be held to have a reasonable belief that the insured is entitled to operate a motor vehicle;

(3) When the bodily injury or death is caused by a motor vehicle operated by any person who is specifically excluded from coverage for bodily injury liability in the policy under which the uninsured and underinsured motorist coverages are provided.

(K) As used in this section, "uninsured motor vehicle" and "underinsured motor vehicle" do not include any of the following motor vehicles:

(1) A motor vehicle that has applicable liability coverage in the policy under which the uninsured and underinsured motorist coverages are provided;

(2) A motor vehicle owned by, furnished to, or available for the regular use of a named insured, a spouse, or a resident relative of a named insured;

(3) A motor vehicle owned by a political subdivision, unless the operator of the motor vehicle has an immunity under Chapter 2744. of the Revised Code that could be raised as a defense in an action brought against the operator by the insured;

(4)(3) A motor vehicle self-insured within the meaning of the financial responsibility law of the state in which the motor vehicle is registered.

(L) As used in this section, "automobile liability or motor vehicle liability policy of insurance" means either of the following:

(1) Any policy of insurance that serves as proof of financial responsibility, as proof of financial responsibility is defined by division (K) of section 4509.01 of the Revised Code, for owners or operators of the motor vehicles specifically identified in the policy of insurance;

(2) Any umbrella liability policy of insurance written as excess over one or more policies described in division (L)(1) of this section.

Sec. 3937.31.  (A) Every automobile insurance policy shall be issued for a policy period of not less than two years or guaranteed renewable for successive policy periods totaling not less than two years. Where renewal is mandatory, "cancellation," as used in sections 3937.30 to 3937.39 of the Revised Code, includes refusal to renew a policy with at least the coverages, included insureds, and policy limits provided at the end of the next preceding policy period. No insurer may cancel any such policy except pursuant to the terms of the policy, and in accordance with sections 3937.30 to 3937.39 of the Revised Code, and for one or more of the following reasons:

(1) Misrepresentation by the insured to the insurer of any material fact in the procurement or renewal of the insurance or in the submission of claims thereunder;

(2) Loss of driving privileges through suspension, revocation, or expiration of the driver's or commercial driver's license of the named insured or any member of his the named insured's family covered as a driver; provided that the insurer shall continue the policy in effect but exclude by endorsement all coverage as to the person whose driver's license has been suspended or revoked or has expired, if he the person is other than the named insured or the principal operator;

(3) Nonpayment of premium, which means failure of the named insured to discharge when due any of his the named insured's obligations in connection with the payment of premiums on a policy, or any installment of such premiums, whether the premium is payable directly to the insurer or its agent or indirectly under any premium finance plan or extension of credit;

(4) The place of residence of the insured or the state of registration or license of the insured automobile is changed to a state or country in which the insurer is not authorized to write automobile coverage.

This section does not apply in the case of a cancellation if the insurer has indicated its willingness to issue a new policy within the same insurer or within another insurer under the same ownership or management as that of the insurer which that has issued the cancellation.

(B) Sections 3937.30 to 3937.39 of the Revised Code do not prohibit:

(1) Changes in coverage or policy limits, cancellation, or nonrenewal for any reason at the request or with the consent of the insured;

(2) Lawful surcharges, adjustments, or other changes in premium;

(3) Policy modification to all policies issued to a classification of risk which do not effect a withdrawal or reduction in the initial coverage or policy limits;

(4) An insurer's refusing for any reason to renew a policy upon its expiration at the end of any mandatory period, provided such nonrenewal complies with the procedure set forth in section 3937.34 of the Revised Code.

(C) Sections 3937.30 to 3937.39 of the Revised Code do not apply to any policy or coverage which that has been in effect less than ninety days at the time notice of cancellation is mailed by the insurer, unless it is a renewal policy.

(D) Renewal of a policy does not constitute a waiver or estoppel with respect to grounds for cancellation which that existed before the effective date of such renewal.

(E) Nothing in this section prohibits an insurer from incorporating into a policy any changes that are permitted or required by this section or other sections of the Revised Code at the beginning of any policy period within the two-year period set forth in division (A) of this section.

SECTION 2 .  That existing sections 3937.18 and 3937.31 of the Revised Code are hereby repealed.

SECTION 3 .  It is the intent of the General Assembly in amending division (A) of section 3937.18 of the Revised Code to supersede the holdings of the Ohio Supreme Court in

Sextonv.StateFarmMut.Auto.Ins.Co.

(1982), 69 Ohio St.2d 431, and

Moorev.StateAuto.Mut.Ins.Co.

(2000), 88 Ohio St.3d 27, that division (A)(1) of section 3937.18 of the Revised Code does not permit an insurer to limit uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage in such a way that an insured must suffer bodily injury, sickness, death or disease for any other insured to recover from the insurer.

SECTION 4 .  It is the intent of the General Assembly in amending division (C) of section 3937.18 of the Revised Code to make it clear that new rejections of uninsured and underinsured motorist coverages or decisions to accept lower limits of coverages need not be obtained from an insured or applicant at the beginning of each policy period in which the policy provides continuing coverage to the named insured or applicant, regardless of whether a new, replacement, or renewal policy that provides continuing coverage to the named insured or applicant is issued by the insurer or affiliate of that insurer with or without new policy terms or new policy numbers.

SECTION 5 .  It is the intent of the General Assembly in amending section 3937.31 of the Revised Code to make it clear that an insurer may modify the terms and conditions of any automobile insurance policy to incorporate changes that are permitted or required by that section and other sections of the Revised Code at the beginning of any policy period within the two-year period set forth in division (A) of that section.

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