Senators Thursday resurrected a bill they killed Wednesday dealing with products liability of manufacturers and gave it preliminary approval. The bill has been a sore point with some attorneys in the body, who claim SB21 restricts a person's ability to sue a manufacturer successfully.
Sen. LeRay McAllister, R-Provo, sponsor of SB21 says while there hasn't been a problem of Utah courts giving outlandish awards to persons injured by a product, such awards have occurred in other states and Utah should move to prevent them here. McAllister admits SB21, alone, won't lower liability insurance rates which, like other insurance rates, have climbed dramatically the past several years.To get at those climbing rates, McAllister got his SB121 approved by senators Thursday. That bill would hire an actuary within the Insurance Department who would compare insurance rates inside Utah and across the nation.
"Rates found to be unreasonably high would be printed in local newspapers," said McAllister, and consumers would see if their insurance company was charging too much.
He believes that would have help keep rates down in the state. Both bills received only preliminary approval. They both cost money and so were held by the Senate until the state's financial picture next year is more clear.