Publication Date


Document Type

Survey Article


The Georgia Supreme Court and Georgia Court of Appeals have handed down over eighty insurance cases during this past survey year. A surprising number of these are cases of first impression. The Uninsured Motorist Act spawned about thirteen percent of the total volume of decided cases, a fact which is not surprising if one keeps in mind that the general litigation proneness of uninsured and underinsured legislation is a well-documented national phenomenon. It is estimated that one of five drivers in this country is uninsured. This can hardly be the case in Georgia. Yet, one must remember that even under Georgia's compulsory liability regime, insureds often discover that their policies provide no coverage for specific cars or specific occurrences.

The Georgia Motor Vehicle Accident Reparations Act, Georgia's ersatz version of no-fault legislation, cast a long shadow into the present, and managed to generate about nine percent of the total volume of in 1991, this is a bit surprising.

Eighteen of the eighty bills and resolutions introduced in the 143rd Georgia General Assembly became law. Since all are quite detailed and some are omnibus bills amending a host of different statutory provisions, a space-limited survey of this kind cannot begin to do them justice. Collectively, they bear testimony to the nonretrograde and orderly evolution of Georgia law as it relates to policy contents, intermediaries, and insurance institutions in general. Two examples will bear out this assertion. The first is the creation of the insurer-financed Special Insurance Fraud Fund "for the purpose of funding the investigation and prosecution of insurance fraud." The second is the mandate that accident and sickness insurance carriers make available optional "coverage for bone marrow transplants for the treatment of breast cancer and Hodgkins disease." With this simple stroke of the pen, the legislature put an end, at least in Georgia, to a highly contentious controversy that continues to plague many sister states. One last general observation is perhaps in order: User-friendly "easy reading" automobile policies and homeowner's policies now definitely dominate appellate litigation. They are in the process of accumulating salubrious judicial gloss which refines their meaning without interpolation or evisceration and thus make them much more useful in the legal market place than the recondite and gnarled policies of yore.

To provide continuity and enhance readability, the cases selected for expatiation will, as far as possible, be organized and discussed under the chapter headings and rubrics employed during the past three decades.

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