On July 22, 2021, Governor Murphy signed Bill A-3444 (S-1558) into law, requiring automobile insurers to disclose policy limits upon request by an attorney. This Bill takes effect immediately for all new motor vehicle accidents occurring after July 22, 2021, and in 60 days for accidents occurring prior to July 22, 2021. Click here for a full copy of Bill-A3444 (S-1558).
Under the new law, auto insurers, who receive a written request from an attorney admitted to practice law in New Jersey, for disclosure of a private passenger automobile insurance policy’s limits, must provide written disclosure of the policy limits within thirty (30) days from receipt of the written request. The auto insurer’s written disclosure must indicate the limits of all private passenger automobile insurance policies and any applicable umbrella or excess liability insurance policies issued by the insurer.
Note, the law requires that the request for disclosure must be in writing, and include the following:
- A statement that the attorney represents an individual who has suffered bodily injury or death alleged to be caused by a motor vehicle accident with an insured under a private passenger automobile policy issued by the insurer;
- The name and last known address of the insured;
- The date and approximate time of the motor vehicle accident;
- A copy of the accident report, if available; and
- A statement providing the insurance information, including policy number, policyholder’s name; tort threshold selection; and personal injury protection coverage limit.
Under this law, the disclosure of policy limits does not constitute an admission of coverage for the alleged injury or accident under the disclosed policy. Moreover, the information concerning the insurance policy is not admissible as evidence at trial by reason of disclosure pursuant to this law and shall be maintained confidential.
At first glance, this new law appears to be a Plaintiff-friendly mechanism to expedite discovery of policy limits and allow claimant attorneys to decide whether to initiate suit. As Assembly Republican Leader Jon Bramnick provided, “Victims in the state should understand early on that their compensation is based on policy limits. Under this bill, anyone injured in a car accident would have more reasonable expectations before they file a lawsuit.” Despite this notion, there are some favorable implications to the defense bar and insurers. Specifically, it may serve as a mechanism to streamline pre-suit resolution and minimize the unnecessary filing of additional lawsuits in an already backlogged system. In turn, this will allow automobile insurers to minimize burdensome expenses associated with defending against unnecessary or frivolous litigation. Additionally, this information is discoverable once the claimant files suit. From an economic standpoint, this streamlined process may promote pre-suit resolution, especially those involving standard or basic policies.
GRSLBG&B will continue to provide legal guidance as these issues arise, and we encourage our clients and colleagues to contact us with any specific legal questions you may have.
 Hristo Zevlikaris, Esq. is a Shareholder in GRSLBG&B’s Litigation Department. He defends a wide variety of clients in various civil actions brought forth in New Jersey State and Federal Courts. Chris can be reached at CZevlikaris@grsl.com.
 Mark Feuerstein, Esq. is an Associate in GRSLBG&B’s Litigation Department. He defends a wide variety of clients in various civil actions brought forth in New Jersey and New York State Courts. Mark can be reached at MFeuerstein@grsl.com.