70,000 petitions call for 'no-fault' auto insurance in state

January 09, 1991

Members of a consumer group advocating automobile insurance reform presented petitions with 70,000 signatures to state lawmakers today in hopes of bringing so-called "no-fault" insurance to Maryland.

The group, called Maryland NEW START, is drafting legislation it hopes will be introduced in the General Assembly to allow for no-fault insurance. The group delivered the petitions in Annapolis in advance of the opening of the 1991 session.

Under a no-fault plan, insurers would be required to offer consumers a choice between traditional coverage or cheaper, no-fault policies that promptly pay the policy holder regardless of who is at fault in an auto accident. Traditional insurance plans seek payment from the driver at fault.

Tyler Prochnow, with Maryland NEW START, said the legislation has some backing in the General Assembly, although past efforts to win no-fault options have failed.

Robert W. Mann, state director of Maryland NEW START, said trial lawyers and consumer advocate Ralph Nader oppose no-fault insurance. The insurance industry, however, supports the bill and has contributed to NEW START's campaign, Mann acknowledged.

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