The Massachusetts Commissioner of Insurance Nonnie S. Burnes released a Division of Insurance Bulletin on December 20, 2007, which requires that any licensed insurer must, upon the payment of $5,000 or more in the settlement of a third-party liability claim that is delivered to the claimant's attorney, provide a concurrent written notice to the claimant. The written notice is to be delivered to the claimant's last known address and applies only to when the claimant is a natural person. This new requirement also pertains to claims payments issued by insurer representatives, such as independent adjusters, agents and attorneys.

This new notice requirement is intended advise a claimant of settlements of her claims and to prevent an injured claimant from being defrauded by counsel who may be tempted to forge the signature of his client, the claimant, and endorse a settlement check to himself unbeknownst to the claimant. The Bulletin, however, does not create a private cause of action against the insurer for an insurer's failure to provide such notice , nor does it create a defense to any claim for any party to any cause of action based upon the insurer's failure to provide such notice.

The Bulletin requires certain items that must be included in the notice to the claimant, including the statement "If you have any questions about this notice, please contact your attorney.”

Click here to read the Bulletin.