CHAPTER 510

FORMERLY

SENATE BILL NO. 433

AS AMENDED BY SENATE AMENDMENT NO. 2

AN ACT TO AMEND CHAPTER 23, TITLE 18 OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO UNFAIR INSURANCE PRACTICES OF DISCRIMINATION BY INSURANCE COMPANIES BASED ON AN INDIVIDUAL'S STATUS AS A VICTIM OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF DELAWARE:

Section 1. Amend §2304(24), Chapter 23, Title 18 of the Delaware Code by adding after the words "Discriminatory practices against victims of abuse" the following words: "regarding life and health insurance".

Section 2. Amend §2304, Chapter 23, Title 18 of the Delaware Code by adding a new subsection (25) to read as follows:

"(25) Discriminatory practices against victims of abuse regarding homeowners and private passenger motor vehicle insurance.

A person or entity engaged in the business of homeowners and/or private passenger motor vehicle insurance in this State may not:

(a) Deny, refuse to issue, refuse to renew, refuse to reissue, cancel, or otherwise terminate a homeowners and/or private passenger motor vehicle insurance policy or restrict coverage on any individual solely because that individual or a member of that individual's family or household is, has been, or may be the subject of abuse, or seeks. has sought, or should have sought, medical or psychological treatment for abuse. protection from abuse, or shelter from abuse. Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit a person from denying, refusing to issue, renew or reissue. cancelling or otherwise terminating an insurance policy based on any existing insurance statute. provided that the insurer routinely underwrites individuals in the same manner without regard to the individual's abuse status, abuse history, or abuse-related claim history and that any such action does not have the purpose or effect of treating abuse status as an underwriting criterion, is not based on any actual or perceived correlation between a type of claim or other underwriting information and abuse, and is otherwise permissible by law.

(b) Add any surcharge or rating factor to a premium of a homeowner's insurance policy solely because of a history of, status as, or potential to be a subject of abuse of the applicant or insured or of a member of the family or household of the insured. Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit a person from rating or surcharging a policy in accordance with any existing insurance statute provided that the insurer routinely rates or surcharges individuals in the same manner without regard to the individual's abuse status, abuse history, or abuse-related claims history, and any such action does not have the purpose or effect of treating abuse status as an underwriting criterion, is not based on any actual or perceived correlation between a type of claim or other underwriting information and abuse and is otherwise permissible by law.

(c) Deny coverage for property damage claims or medical payment coverage for an insured, if such coverage is available and purchased under the policy, as a result of abuse, even if such losses are caused by the intentional act, the fraudulent or criminal act, or the failure to act of a co-insured, and would otherwise have conic under a policy's intentional act, criminal act, family, household, or similar exclusion, unless

(i) the claim or coverage is ordinarily denied in the same manner to an insured or claimant who is not a victim of abuse;

(ii) there is collusion or fraudulent acts by the party seeking the insurance coverage or benefits; or

(iii) the innocent co-insured refuses to cooperate with any law enforcement investigation, the results of which would be made available to the insurer to verify that the claim for loss resulted from a co-insured's wrongful act or omission.

The innocent co-insured shall, at a minimum, be entitled to recover a pro-rata share of the loss of real or personal property and the entire amount of additional living expenses, as the policy may so provide.

Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to prohibit a person from refusing to defend or indemnify the perpetrator of the wrongful act or omission against any claim for liability arising from such individual's wrongful act or omission. The insurer shall retain the right to subrogate against the wrongdoer for any losses incurred by the injured party, including a wrongdoer who was a co-insured with the victim.

(d) Ask an insured or an applicant for homeowners and/or private passenger motor vehicle insurance whether that individual is, has been, or may be the subject of abuse. or seeks, has sought, or should have sought medical or psychological treatment specifically for abuse, protection from abuse, or shelter from abuse.

(e) A person shall not be held civilly or criminally liable for any cause of action which may be brought because of compliance with this section. Nothing herein shall preclude any action or investigation against an insurer to enforce this act. Nothing in this section shall preclude a person's obligations to report suspected fraudulent activities to the Insurance Department Fraud Bureau pursuant to Chapter 24 of this Title."

Approved July 17, 1996