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MASSACHUSETTS DOI SHOOTS DOWN DIMINISHED VALUE CONCEPT


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Posted by tonyb on May 15, 2002 at 04:43:58:

In Reply to: Re: RE: Should have totalled, sloppy unsafe work posted by william s cook on May 12, 2001 at 05:48:32:

: The remedy you seek resides in the rights to be compensated for diminished value due to accident. I would suggest tht you contact such an expert in your area and pursue accordingly prior to invoking appraisal clause.
: William S Cook
: Public Adjuster

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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