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Minnesota Legislature

Office of the Revisor of Statutes

SF 1566

as introduced - 89th Legislature (2015 - 2016) Posted on 03/12/2015 08:52am

KEY: stricken = removed, old language.
underscored = added, new language.

Current Version - as introduced

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A bill for an act
relating to commerce; regulating abusive acts in auto insurance claims; providing
penalties and remedies; proposing coding for new law in Minnesota Statutes,
chapter 65B.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MINNESOTA:

Section 1.

new text begin [65B.606] ABUSE PREVENTION.
new text end

new text begin Subdivision 1. new text end

new text begin Definition; abusive act. new text end

new text begin "Abusive act" means an act by (1) a
reparations obligor, attorney, service provider, supplier, insured, claimant, or beneficiary,
and (2) an entity or person who acts at the direction of, or in cooperation with, an entity or
person set forth in clause (1), when the entity or person knows or has reason to know that
the purpose of the act is to wrongfully obtain, suspend, or deny benefits under this chapter.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 2. new text end

new text begin Investigation. new text end

new text begin An insurance carrier or other nongovernmental entity
may provide the financial resources necessary for the state to conduct an investigation
and prosecution of an abusive act.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 3. new text end

new text begin Abuse prevention. new text end

new text begin (a) Without limiting an insurer's right of full recovery
of proceeds paid for claims deemed noncompensable as arising from an abusive act,
the court may also award those sums deemed appropriate, but in no case more than 37
percent of proceeds to be recovered or saved by the insurer with respect to the abusive
act, to an informant. For the purposes of this subdivision, "informant" means a person
or entity that provides the primary specific evidence or information in support of one or
more violations under this section, taking into account the significance of the evidence or
information. The term does not include a person or entity bringing an action under this
section or acting on behalf of the news media.
new text end

new text begin (b) An insurer may elect to reimburse, on any basis, reasonable out-of-pocket costs
of an actual or potential informant which are incurred or likely to be incurred in the
course of preparing and disclosing the information. Out-of-pocket costs include, without
limitation, any applicable attorney fees associated with the preparation and disclosure of
the information by the informant.
new text end

new text begin (c) An actual or potential informant may place conditions on the use and disclosure
of the information. The conditions may include, without limitation, confidentiality as
to the identity of the informant, as well as the nature of any reimbursement terms,
restrictions on the scope of individuals and entities with whom the insurer may properly
disclose the information, assistance in the determination of the scope of the insurer's
investigation or efforts to prosecute, and other conditions relating to the use and disclosure
of the information.
new text end

new text begin (d) Unless otherwise requested by the informant, all information provided by an
informant, including any restriction on use and disclosure, if presented in court, must be
examined in a confidential, in camera proceeding, unless the informant requests a hearing
in open court and the court determines that a public hearing is necessary to the public
interest and the proper administration of justice.
new text end

new text begin (e) In the absence of actual malice, a person or entity furnishing, disclosing or
requesting information under this section is not subject to civil liability for libel, slander,
or any other cause of action arising from the furnishing, disclosing, or requesting of the
information. A person or entity against whom an action is brought who is found to be
immune from civil liability under this section may recover reasonable attorney fees and
costs from the person or party who brought the action. This section does not abrogate or
modify in any way any common law or statutory privilege or immunity available to a
person or entity. Without limiting the terms of this subdivision:
new text end

new text begin (1) an insurer may notify state and federal agencies, prior attorneys of record, prior
treating providers of record, and the patient or client of any change of representation or
treating health care provider, and may discuss the change with the persons or entities; and
new text end

new text begin (2) an insurer may request an explanation of the reasons for the change of treating
provider and attorney to the subsequent treating provider and attorney or the patient or
client, provided that (i) the payment of any benefits relating to the patient must not be
suspended or conditioned upon the failure of the subsequent treating provider or attorney
to respond to the request or provide such explanation, and (ii) the request must clearly and
conspicuously state that the payment of benefits must not be suspended or conditioned
upon a response or explanation.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 4. new text end

new text begin Private cause of action. new text end

new text begin In addition to any other private remedy provided
by law, a person sustaining economic damages or commercial injury as a result of a
violation of this section may bring an action for appropriate injunctive or other equitable
relief; actual damages, if any, sustained by reason of the violation; taxable costs; and other
damages specified under this section, including attorney fees.
new text end

new text begin EFFECTIVE DATE; APPLICATION. new text end

new text begin This section is effective August 1, 2015,
and applies to acts committed before, on, or after that date.
new text end