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(a) Any person transacting a business of insurance who participates in the investigation, adjustment, negotiation, or settlement of a first-party motor vehicle claim must:
(1) apply one of the following settlement methods if coverage provides for the adjustment of a motor vehicle total loss on the basis of actual cash value or replacement with a vehicle of like kind and quality:
(A) offer a comparable and available replacement motor vehicle, with all applicable taxes, license fees, destination or delivery charges, and other fees incident to transfer of ownership of the motor vehicle paid, at no cost to the first-party claimant other than the deductible amount, if any, as stated in the coverage; the offer of a replacement motor vehicle shall be made in writing if rejected by the first-party claimant; or
(B) make a cash settlement based upon the actual cost to purchase a comparable motor vehicle, including all applicable taxes, license fees, destination or delivery charges, and other fees incident to transfer of ownership, less the deductible amount, if any, as stated in the coverage; the cost shall be determined by:
(i) the cost of a comparable motor vehicle in the local market area to the claimant, if that motor vehicle is available in that area; or
(ii) the average of two or more cost quotations obtained for a comparable motor vehicle from two or more qualified dealers located within the local market area, if a comparable motor vehicle is not available in that area; or
(iii) a basis that is allowable under the coverage but deviates from the rules set out in (i) and (ii) of this subparagraph, if the deviation is supported by documentation in the claim file which gives the particulars of the condition of the motor vehicles involved; any deduction from the cost of a comparable motor vehicle, including deduction for salvage value, must be a fair and appropriate amount; the basis for the deduction shall be fully explained to the claimant;
(2) provide to a first-party claimant a reasonable written explanation of the valuation of damages to the motor vehicle;
(3) include the first-party claimant's deductible, if any, in a subrogation demand unless the first-party claimant requests that it not be included or unless the deductible has been otherwise recovered by the first-party claimant; no deduction for expense may be made from any deductible recovered unless an outside attorney or other outside expert witnesses have been retained and any deduction is no more than a pro rata share of their cost less any attorney fees and costs recovered; any recovery of prejudgement or postjudgement interest shall be shared pro rata.
(b) Any person transacting a business of insurance who participates in the investigation, adjustment, negotiation, or settlement of a third-party motor vehicle claim:
(1) shall provide a third-party claimant a reasonable written explanation of the valuation of damages to a motor vehicle which is the basis of any settlement offer;
(2) may not recommend that a third-party claimant make a claim under the claimant's own coverage in order to delay or avoid paying a claim where liability and damages are reasonably clear.
(c) A claimant may not be required to travel unreasonably either to inspect a replacement motor vehicle, obtain a repair estimate, or have the motor vehicle repaired at a specific facility.
(d) Any estimate or appraisal of the cost of repair of a motor vehicle must be in a fair and appropriate amount that the claimant may reasonably be expected to be charged for repairs at one or more conveniently located repair facilities.
(e) If the amount claimed as damage to the motor vehicle is reduced on the basis of betterment or depreciation, the person adjusting or settling the claim shall itemize each deduction and explain the basis for each reduction in writing to the claimant.
(f) If a person adjusting or settling a claim elects to have repaired a claimant's motor vehicle and chooses a specific facility for the repairs, that person shall guarantee the repairs and cause the damaged motor vehicle to be restored to its condition before the loss, at no additional cost to the claimant, and cause the repairs to be completed within a reasonable time.
(g) If the claimant's motor vehicle is determined to be economically unrepairable and, therefore, a total loss, the person adjusting or settling the claim may not reduce the salvage value of the vehicle by charges for cleaning.
History: Eff. 5/6/89, Register 110
Authority: AS 21.06.090
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Last modified 7/05/2006