Strategies, Challenges, and Answers

Insurers Do Not Need To Produce A Signed “Must Offer” Med-Pay Waiver Form

contract for youAs we explained in THIS EARLIER POST, Nevada obligates insurance companies that issue passenger car policies in the state to offer Uninsured / Underinsured Motorist coverage to its customers.  See also NRS 687B.145(2).  Insurance customers can reject UM / UIM coverage or reduce the limits of coverage to an amount less than the limits of the liability coverage.  However, when a claim arises, if the insurance company cannot provide proof of the rejection / reduction via a signed form, the court will order reformation of the contract to add UM / UIM coverage up to the limits of the liability coverage. 

However, the “must-offer” question is relevant in the auto medical payments coverage arena as well.  NRS 687B.145(3) states that:

  1. An insurance company transacting motor vehicle insurance in this State must offer an insured under a policy covering the use of a passenger car, the option of purchasing coverage in an amount of at least $1,000 for the payment of reasonable and necessary medical expenses resulting from an accident.

In the recent case of Wingco v. Gov’t Emps. Ins. Co. 130 Nev. Adv. Op. 20,  P.3d (Nev. 2014), the plaintiffs argued that the medical payments “must offer” provision must be interpreted consistently with the “must offer” provision in the UM / UIM statute.

The Nevada Supreme Court identified important distinctions between the “must offer” programs.

The UM / UIM “must offer” requirement in NRS 687B.145(2) specifically mentions that the offer has to be made “on a form approved by the Commissioner”.  Furthermore, the UM / UIM “must offer” form is referenced in NRS 690B.020 where it says:

No such coverage is required in or supplemental to a policy issued to the State of Nevada or any political subdivision thereof, or where rejected in writing, on a form furnished by the insurer describing the coverage being rejected, by an insured named therein, or upon any renewal of such a policy unless the coverage is then requested in writing by the named insured.

However, there is no mention in NRS 687B.145(3) of a waiver form requirement.  Following the decision in Banks v. Progressive Northern Insurance Co., No. 2:12-CV-00861-KJD-VCF, 2012 WL 6697542 (D. Nev. Dec. 21, 2012), the Nevada Supreme Court explained that “if the Legislature meant to impose a written rejection requirement on medpay coverage offers, it would have expressly so stated, as it did in NRS 690B.020 for minimum UM/UIM coverage.”

Please contact Mike Mills at Mills & Associates regarding questions related to either UM / UIM or med-pay coverage questions.  Mike can be reached at 702-240-6060.  Be sure to subscribe to the Nevada Law Blogs.