Finally, the Colorado legislature has passed an important statute that helps car accident victims determine the amount of insurance coverage available in their particular car accident. This new statute took affect in January of 2020. This new law requires the at-fault driver’s insurance company to notify your attorney of their insured’s bodily injury coverage limits—-within 30 days. If the insurance company fails to abide by this statute, then they can be fined $100 per day. Prior to the passing of this statute, attorneys had to file a lawsuit to discover the amount of insurance carried by the at-fault driver.
Colorado Car Accident Law Prior To 2020
Prior to 2020, car accident attorneys like myself were not able to determine how much money or insurance coverage was available on each injury case. As an example, if I had a client who broke a leg in a severe car crash and the at-fault driver carried only the state minimum required limits of $25,000, I would not be able to discover that. Thus, I would not be able to properly advise my client on how much money he or she could recover in money damages for the driver’s insurance company.
Under this new law, I can easily find out the amount of insurance money on the other side which helps me and all personal injury attorneys advise their clients on what medical treatment can be sought due to insurance coverage, and how to advise the client to enter or not to enter into expensive medical procedures (if there is only a minimal BI policy on the other side). In other words, now clients can be advised on ways to minimize or mitigate their damages.
For example, if I have a severely injured client that was say rear-ended by a vehicle driven by a large trucking company, then there is most likely a very large insurance policy that covers bodily injury. Typically, trucking companies carry one-million dollars in bodily injury insurance. I can use the letter below to request and confirm the amount of insurance coverage so that I can adequately advise my client on the monetary coverage available for the client’s injuries.
Here is an example of a letter that I use under this new statute. As you can see below, the insurance company has to comply by sending me or any other car accident attorney, the complete insurance policy within 30 days, stating: the name of the insurance company, the name of each insured, and a statement of the Bodily Injury liability limits. Some insurance companies have been dragging their feet on this new law and will sometimes ignore these requests.
How An Attorney Deals With Difficult Insurance Companies
What does a car accident attorney do if the insurance company ignores this most important request? First, I always send a copy to the handling insurance adjuster; the adjuster who is directly handling the injury portion of my client’s car accident claim. I also send a copy to the adjuster’s supervisor to make doubly sure I have their complete attention! Lastly, I send the statutory notice directly to the registered agent of the involved insurance company. Normally, the registered agent is either CT Corporation or the Colorado Department of Insurance.
It is important for the car accident or personal injury attorney to do the necessary research to find out who is the actual registered agent for the particular insurance company. Let’s say my client was hit by a State Farm at-fault driver. I would then determine which agency in Colorado is the actual registered agent for State Farm. Most of the time, the Colorado Department of Insurance acts as the “registered agent” for the insurance companies authorized to do business in Colorado. Once the Colorado Department of Insurance receives my letter, they will then notify the particular insurance company of my request.
In order to put “teeth” into this requirement of disclosure, the Colorado legislature built in a monetary penalty of non-compliance. The insurance company has 30 days to provide the below information. If the insurance company, like State Farm in this example, fails to produce this information within 30 days, then I can begin recovering $100 per day from the offending insurer. If I have to go to Court to enforce this statute, then I can request attorney’s fees and costs in litigating this non-compliance. Most insurance companies readily reply within the 30 days and there are no further issues.
I have heard of some attorneys in Colorado who have actually had to litigate this issue due to non-compliance with the statute. Again, here is the form letter that I send to every at-fault driver’s insurance company the day I have been hired by the injured car accident victim:
STATUTORY NOTICE LETTER
This letter shall serve as written formal notice of our Statutory Request (pursuant to Colorado Revised Statutes, Section 10-3-1117) directed to (the applicable insurance company). According to this new January 2020 statute:
- Specifically, C.R.S. § 10-3-1117(1) requires an insurer to provide a complete copy of the commercial or personal automobile policy, including endorsements, within 30 days after receiving a written request from an insured.
- As to third-party claimants or their attorneys, C.R.S. § 10-3-1117(2)(a) requires an insurer, after receiving a written request sent to the insurer’s Registered Agent, to provide “a statement setting forth the following information with regard to each known policy of insurance of the named insured, including excess or umbrella insurance, that is or may be relevant to the claim:
3. (I) The name of the insurer;
(II) The name of each insured party, as the name appears on the declarations page of the policy;
(III) The limits of the liability coverage; and
(IV) A copy of the policy.”
- The 30-day clock for compliance with both insured and third-party requests begins when the request is received by the insurer. The statute provides for a penalty of $100/day if an insurer fails to comply with a written request within 30 days, which begins to accrue on the 31st day after receipt of the request. The penalty continues to accrue until the insurer provides the required policy information. In the event a requesting party incurs attorney’s fees and costs to enforce the penalty, the insurer must also pay these fees and costs.
Accordingly, in order for (the applicable insurance company) to avoid this $100 a day penalty, I would respectfully ask for compliance with the above Colorado statute. In the event you do not receive this request from your registered agent, we make the written request again here so that you may comply and avoid any fines or penalties for not complying within thirty (30) calendar days.
Attorney at Law
Thus, Colorado now joins many other states in having this legal requirement. I used to practice law in southern Florida and Florida has a similar statute. Here is a copy of the Florida statute which I became quite familiar with over the years:
627.4137 Disclosure of certain information required.
(1) Each insurer which does or may provide liability insurance coverage to pay all or a portion of any claim which might be made shall provide, within 30 days of the written request of the claimant, a statement, under oath, of a corporate officer or the insurer’s claims manager or superintendent setting forth the following information with regard to each known policy of insurance, including excess or umbrella insurance:
(a) The name of the insurer.
(b) The name of each insured.
(c) The limits of the liability coverage.
(d) A statement of any policy or coverage defense which such insurer reasonably believes is available to such insurer at the time of filing such statement.
(e) A copy of the policy.
In addition, the insured, or her or his insurance agent, upon written request of the claimant or the claimant’s attorney, shall disclose the name and coverage of each known insurer to the claimant and shall forward such request for information as required by this subsection to all affected insurers. The insurer shall then supply the information required in this subsection to the claimant within 30 days of receipt of such request.
(2) The statement required by subsection (1) shall be amended immediately upon discovery of facts calling for an amendment to such statement.
(3) Any request made to a self-insured corporation pursuant to this section shall be sent by certified mail to the registered agent of the disclosing entity.
History. ss. 543, 809(2nd), ch. 82-243; s. 79, ch. 82-386; s. 22, ch. 83-288; ss. 38, 114, ch. 92-318; s. 327, ch. 97-102; s. 10, ch. 2011-174.
Note. Former s. 627.7264.
Contact Doug Allen – Fort Collins Car Accident Lawyer For A Free Consultation
*Readers who would like more information on this very important new Colorado law are welcome to contact me at anytime. I have been practicing personal injury law and handling car accident cases for almost 30 years. I have handled car accident cases involving injured persons from both the plaintiff and defense side. I used to represent GEICO and State Farm in Florida, but now only represent injured victims in their injury claims against insurance companies in Colorado. Please feel free to call me, text me or email me at anytime and I will give you my honest opinion on your injury case.