Washington lawmakers are currently considering legislation that would force insurance companies to compensate their policy holders for damages caused by uninsured drivers who intentionally cause accidents. The bill was requested by Washington Insurance Commissioner Mike Kriedler in response to a public outcry over Farmers Insurance’s treatment of Ethel Adams.
Ms. Adams was injured in March when an uninsured driver caused a multi-car accident on Aurora Avenue while trying to run down his ex-girlfriend. Ms. Adams had a valid insurance policy with Farmers but the company refused to pay her medical bills. Under current state law, insurers are only required to pay for accidents caused by uninsured drivers that are unintentional. Farmers argued that because the at-fault driver intentionally tried to run down his girlfriend, it was not obligated to compensate Ms. Adams. Farmers ultimately relented after the story was publicized and a strong backlash from the general public ensued.
This is a positive and necessary law. Farmers’ conduct in Ms. Adams’ case was extremely unfortunate. It confirmed that many insurance companies make profit a much higher priority than their own policy holders. By passing Ethel’s Bill the Legislature can ensure that innocent victims receive fair compensation.
The proposed law, labeled Ethel’s Bill in Ms. Adams’ honor, would define an accident as something that is unintentional from the perspective of the insured. Thus, insurers like Farmers would be responsible for policy holders like Ms. Adams even if the accident was caused by an intentional act. More information about the proposed law can be found at the following link: Legislature Contemplates Closing Insurance Loophole.