Mississippi Insurance Law – Part 4MISSISSIPPI Insurance-Related Law — An A to Z GuideHere’s the next post sharing our 2016 update. If you like a full copy or have any questions, please email or call.Governmental ImmunityThe State of Mississippi and its political subdivisions have waived their tort immunity in certain circumstances for up to $500,000 in damages, or up to the limit of the governmental entities liability insurance if higher, for any single occurrence. Miss. Code Ann. § 11-46-5, 15.Complete governmental tort immunity is retained for certain claims, including: claims arising from a governmental employee’s exercise or failure to exercise a discretionary function or duty; claims arising from an act or omission of a governmental employee engaged in police or fire protection activities unless the employee acted in a reckless disregard for the safety of any person other than those engaged in criminal activity at the time of the injury; claims arising from when the claimant was in prison; and claims arising out of the administration of corporal punishment or actions to maintain control of students unless the teacher acted in bad faith, with a malicious purpose, or in wanton and willful disregard of human rights or safety. Miss. Code Ann. § 11-46-9.Notice of Claim Against Government A claimant must give written notice of claim to the chief executive officer of the governmental entity being sued 90 days prior to filing suit. Miss. Code Ann. § 11-46-11. Notice of claim provisions must be strictly complied with. University of Mississippi Medical Center v. Easterling, 928 So. 2d 815 (Miss. 2006).The one-year statute of limitations will be tolled for 95 days against the state or 120 days against a municipality or other political subdivision upon filing the notice of claim. If the governmental entity denies the claim sooner, the statute will once again begin to run. Once the claim is denied or the tolling period has expired, the claimant has an additional 90 days tacked on to the original limitations period in which to file suit. Page v. University of Southern Mississippi, 878 So. 2d 1003 (Miss. 2004)Homeowners’ Bill of RightsIn 2009, the Mississippi Insurance Department created a Policyholder Bill of Rights regarding personal lines homeowner insurance. All homeowner policies since 2009 have been required to include the Policyholder Bill of Rights in the issuance and delivery of the policy. The MID identified 19 rights, including the selected excerpts highlighted below:
- Policyholders shall have the right to receive in writing from their insurance company the reason for any cancellation or nonrenewal of coverage.The written statement from the insurance company must provide an adequate explanation for the cancellation or nonrenewal of coverage.
- Policyholders shall have the right to receive a written explanation of why a claim is denied, in whole or in part.
- Policyholders shall have the right to request and receive from the insurance company any adjuster reports, engineer reports, contractor reports,statements or documents which are not legally privileged documents that the insurance company prepared, had prepared, or used during its adjustment of the policyholder’s claim. A company may keep confidential any documents they prepare in conjunction with a fraud investigation.
- Policyholders shall have the right to prevent an insurance company, agent, adjuster or financial institution from disclosing their personal financial information to companies or entities that are not affiliated with the insurance company or financial institution. Insurance companies must comply with the provisions set out in Mississippi Department of Insurance Regulation 2001-1,”Privacy of Consumer Financial and Health Information Regulation”.
- Policyholders shall have the right to be treated fairly and honestly when making a claim.
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