Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Governors' Association Task Force Urging Major Changes / in State Insurance Laws

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Governors' Association Task Force Urging Major Changes / in State Insurance Laws

Article excerpt

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) - A federal product liability standard and major changes in state insurance laws are needed to quash a growing threat to the economy and vital services, a report to the National Governors' Association released Thursday asserts.

The governors' association task force offered numerous general recommendations for states to follow as they address local problems with soaring liability premiums.

The chairman of the panel, Rhode Island Gov. Edward D. DiPrete, said the report would be formally approved Sunday before being presented to the association's annual meeting next week in Hilton Head, S.C.

""The effect of the liability insurance crisis on our economy and on our society cannot be ignored, and must be addressed in a prudent, balanced and coordinated manner,'' DiPrete told a news conference.

""As costs escalate and insurance availability is called into question, businesses and individuals are less inclined to take risks,'' DiPrete said. ""The result: progress is impeded, as innovation and entrepreneurialism are stifled.''

The task force urged the governors' association to drop its longstanding opposition to a federal product liability law. Varying state laws greatly hinder interstate commerce, DiPrete said.

""National uniformity will serve the interests of the public and our job-producing business community,'' DiPrete said. ""The patchwork of state product liability statutes has caused confusion and consternation for many businesses, whose activities and impact transcend state boundaries.''

The Reagan administration has proposed a uniform product liability law, and DiPrete, a Republican and former insurance executive, said he hoped the Democrat-dominated governors' association would not subject the recommendation to a partisan debate. …

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