We previously introduced an article on Ohio’s new law, Ohio Revised Code 2323.44, which became effective September 28, 2015. As we suspected, there have been a few developments. First, Ohio Senate Bill 223 was passed which amends the application of Ohio Revised Code 2323.44. Section 3 at the end of Bill 223 states:
“Section 2323.44 of the Revised Code shall not apply to multiple employer welfare arrangements, health insuring corporations, or sickness and accident insurers authorized to do business in this state under Title XVII or XXXIX of the Revised Code with respect to any policy, contract, or agreement that is delivered, issued for delivery, or renewed on or after the effective date of this section through December 31, 2016. Multiple employer welfare arrangements, health insuring corporation, or sickness and accident insurers authorized to do business in this state under Title XVII or XXXIX of the Revised Code shall be subject to section 2323.44 of the Revised Code with respect to any policy, contract, or agreement that is delivered, issued for delivery, or renewed on or after January 1, 2017.”
The analysis that must be done is to determine whether your company falls within the definition of the above text in Section 3 of Bill 223. Title XXXIX is titled “Insurance.” Ohio Revised Code 3937 is for “Casualty Insurance; Motor Vehicle Insurance” and Revised Code 3923 is for “Sickness and Accident Insurance.” For that reason, I do not believe this new law provides any relief to a basic automobile insurance company and policy. Moving on.
Second, a new argument has emerged from the personal injury bar. The argument is that the statute not only applies to medical payments but also to any property damage payments. Therefore, if you have any form of property damage and your insured was injured, your company must proportionately share in the expenses. Or-so-the-argument-goes…
As of January 10, 2016, we are not aware of any decision interpreting O.R.C. 2323.44. Please continue to argue that the section applies to payments made after September 28, 2015, not before. Oh yes, we encourage it.