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MASSACHUSETTS DOI SHOOTS DOWN DIMINISHED VALUE CONCEPT


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Posted by tonyb on May 15, 2002 at 04:38:56:

In Reply to: Re: Total Loss or not? - Diminished Value posted by Jack on February 05, 2002 at 22:40:27:

: I spoke with AAA (my insurance company) about getting diminished value payments and they didn't even want ot hear the phrase. I said I would pursue it from the 3rd party's insurnace then and they said you can try, but still, they didn't want to hear another word about diminished value.

: -Jack

Some others who don't want to hear about it:

MASSACHUSETTS DOI SHOOTS DOWN DIMINISHED VALUE CONCEPT

BOSTON - The Massachusetts Division of Insurance has come down against the concept of "diminished value" in auto repair in a recent opinion letter spurred by conflicting Massachusetts court decisions on the issue. The Division's recent opinion letter comes in response to an April Superior Court decision holding that there is an inherent diminished value in all property damage auto claims, and that such a loss is covered under the standard auto policy, said Gerald L. Zimmerman, senior counsel for the National Association of Independent Insurers (NAII).

The April Superior Court decision in Given vs. Commerce Insurance Co. which accepted diminished value directly contradicts a 2001 Superior Court ruling in Roth v. Amica Mutual Insurance Co. that denied the concept. Commerce Insurance Co. requested a ruling from the Division. In its April 26 response, Deputy Commissioner and General Counsel Daniel R. Judson stated that the Division's
position was that the standard auto insurance policy does not provide coverage "for so-called 'inherent diminished value,' nor has the Division ever intended the language to provide such coverage." Judson added that there are no statutes or regulations requiring insurers to pay claims for diminished value, or rates to include a premium charge for diminished value.

"The Division's opinion letter spells out in no uncertain terms that the 'so-called diminished value concept' isn't the law of the land, at
least according to the regulator in Massachusetts," Zimmerman said. During the past several years, more insurance carriers have been targeted as defendants in class-action lawsuits involving diminished value. Most of these cases have been dismissed
coast-to-coast based on clear, unambiguous policy language and the failure to prove that cars cannot be repaired to pre-loss condition. To date, 34 states have approved the Insurance Services Organization's (ISO) policy language that excludes
diminished value payments for first-party physical damage, while 16 states have not approved the ISO policy exclusion.


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