On April 29, 2011, the Tennessee legislature adopted House Bill 1189 was enacted into law and signed by Governor Haslam. Public Chapter No. 130 will be codified in Tennessee Code Annotated, Title 56, Chapter 8, Part 1. The signed law is available by clicking here.
The law amends Title 56 related to insurance business acts and practices. It provides that Titles 50 and Title 56 shall provide the sole and exclusive statutory remedies and sanctions available for the “alleged breach of, or for alleged unfair or deceptive acts and practices in connection with a contract of insurance.” . The law essentially overrules the case of Myint v. Allstate Ins. Co., 970 S.W.2d 920, 927 (Tenn.1998), which had allowed recovery under the Tennessee Consumer Protection Act for unfair or deceptive acts or practices in the handling of an insurance claim, obviously after the consumer transaction which created the relationship between the insured and insurer. This brought with it exposure for attorney fees and the potential for trebled damages.
Prior to Myint, it had long been the rule that statutes such as T.C.A. § 56-7-105, provided for the sole and exclusive remedies available to insureds for a carrier’s failure to handle a claim in good faith. It appears this is now the case once again.
In other entries on this blog, reader can see how Tennessee Consumer Protection Act allegations have expanded in scope since the Myint decision. I have handled cases where the consumer protection act allegations against the carrier were based upon alleged actions of independent adjusters, and even independent expert witnesses. Because of the expansive scope of Myint, courts were reluctant to dismiss even those cases on summary judgment.