CHAPTER 574

FORMERLY

SENATE BILL NO. 525

AS AMENDED BY SENATE AMENDMENT NOS. 2 & 3

AND HOUSE AMENDMENT NO. 2

AN ACT TO AMEND SUBCHAPTER 1 OF CHAPTER 21, TITLE 21, DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO REQUIREMENTS OF INSURANCE FOR ALL MOTOR VEHICLES REGISTERED IN THIS STATE.

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

Section 1. Amend §2118 (a) (2), Subchapter 1, Chapter 21, Title 21 of the Delaware Code, by striking said subsection (a) (2) in its entirety and substituting in lieu thereof a new subsection (a) (2) which shall read as follows:

"(a) (2) a. Compensation to injured persons for reasonable and necessary expenses incurred within two years from the date of the accident for:

1. Medical, hospital, dental, surgical, medicine, X-ray, ambulance, prosthetic services, professional nursing and funeral services. Compensation for funeral services shall not exceed the sum of $2,000.00. Compensation may include expenses for any non-medical remedial care and treatment rendered in accordance with a recognized religious method of healing.

0. Net amount of lost earnings.

1. Cost of dental or surgical procedures, medical expenses including related treatment and the net amount of lost earnings, the necessity of which have been medically ascertained within two years from the date of the accident but which are impractical or impossible to perform during that period and as to which verification that such procedures or treatments will be necessary has been made in writing by a qualified medical practitioner within two years from the date of the accident. The payment of this cost shall be either at the time they are ascertained or at the time they are actually incurred, at the insurer's option.

4. Extra expenses for personal services which would have been performed by the injured person had they not been injured.

b. The minimum insurance coverage which will satisfy the requirements of subsection (a) (2) a. of this section is a minimum limit for the total of all payments which must be made pursuant to that subsection of $10,000 for any one person and $20,000 for all persons injured in any one accident.

c. The coverage required by subsection (2) of this section shall be applicable to each person occupying such motor vehicle and to any other person injured in an accident involving such motor vehicle, other than an occupant of another motor vehicle.

d. The coverage required by subsection (2) shall also be applicable to the named insureds and members of their households for accidents which occur through being struck by any vehicle other than a Delaware insured motor vehicle while a pedestrian or while occupying any registered motor vehicle, other than a Delaware registered insured motor vehicle, in any state of the United States, its territories or possessions or Canada.

e. The coverage required in subsection (2) shall apply to pedestrians only if they are involved in accidents within the State of Delaware except as to named insureds or members of their households to the extent they must be covered pursuant to subsection (2) (d) of this section.

. The owner of a vehicle may elect to have the coverage described in subsection (2) written subject to certain deductibles, waiting periods, sublimits, percentage reductions, excess provisions and similar reductions offered by insurers in accordance with filings made by such insurers with the Department of Insurance, applicable to expenses incurred as a result of injury to the owner of a vehicle or members of his household; provided that the owner of a motorcycle may elect to exclude from such coverage expenses incurred as a result of injury to any person riding such vehicle while not on a highway and in any case of injury when no other vehicle was involved by actual collision or contact. This election must be made in writing and signed by the owner of the vehicle; insurers issuing such policies may not require such reductions.

g. The coverages required by subsection (2) of this section shall be considered excess over any similar insurance for passengers, other than Delaware residents, when the accident occurs outside the State of Delaware.

FURTHER AMEND SENATE BILL NO. 525 by adding a new Section thereto which shall read as follows:

"Section 3. Amend §2118 (a) (4) (i), Subchapter 1, Chapter 21, Title 21 of the Delaware Code, by striking said subsection (a) (4) (i) in its entirety and substituting in lieu thereof a new subsection (a) (4) (i) which shall read as follows:

"(i) Every insurance policy issued under this section shall require the insurer to submit to arbitration, in the manner set forth hereinafter, any claims (1) for losses or damages within the coverages required under subsection (a) (2) of this section and (2) for damage to a motor vehicle, including the insured motor vehicle, including loss of use of such vehicle, upon the request of the party claiming to have suffered a loss or damages within the above described coverages of subsection (a) (2) or to such a motor vehicle. Such request shall be in writing and mailed to the Insurance Commissioner within ninety (90) days from the date of the accident.

(1) All arbitration shall be administered by the Insurance Commissioner or his nominee.

(2) The Insurance Commissioner or his nominee shall establish a panel of arbitrators consisting of attorneys authorized to practice law in the State and insurance adjusters licensed to act as such in the State.

(3) The Insurance Commissioner, or his nominee, shall select 3 individuals from the panel of arbitrators, at least 1 of which shall be an attorney authorized to practice law in the State, to hear each request for arbitration.

(4) The Insurance Commissioner, or his nominee, shall promulgate all rules and regulations necessary to implement this arbitration program.

(5) The right to require such arbitration shall be purely optional and neither party shall be held to have waived any of its rights by any act relating to arbitration and the losing party shall have a right to appeal de novo to the Superior Court if notice of such appeal is filed with that Court in the manner set forth by its Rules within 80 days of the date of the decision being rendered.

(6) The Insurance Commissioner shall establish a schedule of costs of arbitration; provided, however, the arbitrators' fee shall not exceed $25 per arbitrator for any 1 arbitration.

(7) The cost of arbitration shall be payable to the State Department of Insurance, and shall be maintained in a special fund identified as the "arbitration fund" which shall be administered by the Insurance Commissioner. These funds under no circumstances shall revert to the general fund. All costs of arbitration including administrative expenses of the Insurance Department and the arbitrators' fees shall be payable from this fund.

(8) The applicant may be reimbursed their cost of filing arbitration as a part of the award rendered by the arbitration panel. If an insurer should pay an applicant his damages in advance of a hearing, they shall include with those damages the cost to the applicant of his filing the arbitration."

FURTHER AMEND SENATE BILL NO. 525 by adding a new section thereto which shall read as follows:

"Section 4. This Act shall take effect on January 1, 1975."

Approved July 27, 1974.