Insurance Legislation (Audio)
By Jenifer Jones
The South Dakota Senate voted 18 to 17 to kill a bill that changes the order of who receives compensation after an accident. When a person is in an accident and receives compensation from the party who was at fault, a person’s insurance company currently has first dibs on the compensation. Senate Bill 169 reverses the order to say that the person who was in the accident can receive compensation first, before the insurance company. Senator Nancy Turbak Berry of Watertown is a sponsor of the bill. She says the measure applies when there’s not enough money to go around.
“The question becomes who should be left holding the bag,” Turbak Berry says. “Is it the injured person, or maybe the county where they live, or the Medicaid and food stamp folks? Or would it be alright in those instances to say, look, just this once insurance company you’re not going to get your money back. It’s no loss to them; they’ve already collected a premium for those benefits anyway.”
Opponents of the measure say the bill is unclear and there is potential for abuse.
Senator Turbak Berry says she intends to move for reconsideration.
Member stations can download the audio file here.