2010 Arkansas Code
Title 23 - Public Utilities and Regulated Industries
Subtitle 3 - Insurance
Chapter 89 - Casualty Insurance
Subchapter 2 - Automobile Liability Insurance Generally
§ 23-89-209 - Underinsured motorist coverage.

23-89-209. Underinsured motorist coverage.

(a) (1) No private passenger automobile liability insurance covering liability arising out of the ownership, maintenance, or use of any motor vehicles in this state shall be delivered or issued in this state or issued as to any private passenger automobile principally garaged in this state unless the insured has the opportunity, which he or she may reject in writing, to purchase underinsured motorist coverage.

(2) After a named insured or applicant for insurance rejects underinsured motorist coverage, the insurer or any of its affiliates shall not be required to notify any insured in any renewal, reinstatement, substitute, amended, or replacement policy as to the availability of such coverage.

(3) The coverage shall enable the insured or the insured's legal representative to recover from the insurer the amount of damages for bodily injuries to or death of an insured which the insured is legally entitled to recover from the owner or operator of another motor vehicle whenever the liability insurance limits of the other owner or operator are less than the amount of the damages incurred by the insured.

(4) Underinsured motorist coverage shall be at least equal to the limits prescribed for bodily injury or death under 27-19-605.

(5) Coverage of the insured pursuant to underinsured motorist coverage shall not be reduced by the tortfeasor's insurance coverage except to the extent that the injured party would receive compensation in excess of his or her damages.

(b) (1) Underinsured motorist coverage as described in this section shall not be available to insureds nor shall insurers be mandated to offer that coverage unless the insured has elected uninsured motorist coverage as provided by 23-89-403.

(2) Underinsured motorist coverage shall not be issued without uninsured motorist coverage being issued in coordination therewith.

(c) If a tentative agreement to settle for the liability limits of the owner or operator of the other vehicle has been reached between the insured and the owner or operator, written notice may be given by the insured injured party to his or her underinsured motorist coverage insurer by certified mail, return receipt requested. The written notice shall include:

(1) Written documentation of pecuniary losses incurred, including copies of all medical bills;

(2) Written authorization or a court order authorizing the underinsured motorist insurer to obtain medical reports from all employers and medical providers; and

(3) Written confirmation from the tortfeasor's liability insurer as to the amount of the alleged tortfeasor's liability limits and the terms of the tentative settlement, which shall in no event include any component sum representing punitive or exemplary damages. However, in no event shall evidence of the referenced liability limits, the fact that a tentative settlement was reached, or the terms of the tentative settlement be admissible in any civil action with the sole exceptions of:

(A) Actions by underinsured motorist insurers to enforce subrogation rights as contemplated by this subchapter;

(B) Actions by first party liability insureds against their insurer to enforce their contract or a settlement hereunder, if any; and

(C) Actions by first party underinsured motorist insureds against their insurer to enforce their contract or a settlement hereunder.

(d) (1) Within thirty (30) days of receipt of the written notice, the underinsured motorist insurer may make payment to its insured of an amount equal to the tentative settlement amount agreed to by the owner or operator of the other motor vehicle or his or her liability insurer.

(2) In such event, the underinsured motorist insurer shall be entitled to subrogate to its insured's right of recovery against the owner or operator of the other motor vehicle to the extent of such payments and to the extent of any underinsured motorist insurance benefit it pays to its insured.

(3) If the underinsured motorist insurer fails to pay its insured the amount of the tentative tort settlement within thirty (30) days, the underinsured motorist insurer has no right to the proceeds of any settlement or judgment between its insured and the other owner or operator and/or the owner's or operator's liability insurer, no right to otherwise recoup the amount of the underinsured motorist benefit it may pay from the other owner or operator or his or her insurer, and no right to refuse payment of its underinsured motorist coverage benefit by reason of the settlement made by its insured.

(e) In the event that the tortfeasor's motor vehicle liability insurance carrier and the underinsured motorist coverage are provided by the same insurance company, the requirements of subsections (c) and (d) of this section are waived, and the underinsured party may proceed against his or her underinsured insurance carrier at any time after settlement of the underlying tortfeasor's liability policy claim.

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