00RS HB520


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HB 520 (BR 1675) - R. Webb, J. Barrows

     AN ACT relating to insurance.
     Create new sections of Subtitle 2 of KRS Chapter 304 to set out the duties and functions of the Office of Ombudsman in the Department of Insurance; require the Governor to appoint the ombudsman with the consent of Senate; require the ombudsman to have at least a baccalaureate degree and 7 years experience in insurance; permit a person to file an application with the ombudsman to review a claims settlement, if the person has reasonable cause to believe an insurer has failed or refuses to settle a claim in accordance with the insurance contract or has violated the fair claims settlement practices statute; specify duties of ombudsman in investigating a disputed claim; provide grounds for ombudsman to refuse to investigate a disputed claim; require the ombudsman to maintain a central registry of all claims investigations which have been disposed and closed; require the ombudsman to report to the commissioner any evidence that an insurer has established a pattern of unfair claims settlement practices; require the ombudsman to report to the commissioner any contract provisions which are unfairly discriminatory, confusing, misleading, or contrary to public policy; authorize the ombudsman to investigate trade or marketing practices and report findings to the commissioner; require every property and casualty insurer and every life insurer to establish an internal appeals procedure and to conduct internal reviews of complaints within 10 days; require complaints to be filed on forms approved by the ombudsman; authorize the ombudsman to make recommendations to the commissioner; require the consumer protection and education division to annually publish buyers' guides for homeowners, automobile, and health insurance; require the buyer's guides to contain a description of the office of ombudsman, mailing and internet address, and a toll-free telephone number for the office; provide that correspondence and written communications from a complainant and written material submitted by an insurer are confidential not part of any public record; require the ombudsman to notify the claimant of the decision of the ombudsman; require the ombudsman to obtain from the Kentucky Bar Association and to maintain an updated list of lawyer referral services and pro bono and legal service programs and provide them to claimants when appropriate or when requested; require the ombudsman to report to the Governor and the Legislative Research Commission on or before September 30 each year summarizing activities of the preceding fiscal year; provide a penalty of up to $5,000 for persons who hinder lawful actions of the ombudsman or willfully refuse to comply with the lawful demands of the ombudsman.

     Feb 1-introduced in House
     Feb 2-to Banking and Insurance (H)
     Feb 25-posted in committee

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