Date:July 15, 2011
To:All Insurers Authorized to Write Property & Casualty Business in Wisconsin
From:Theodore K. Nickel, Commissioner of Insurance
Subject:Newly Enacted Legislation—2011 Wisconsin Act 14 (AB 4)—Motor Vehicle Insurance

This bulletin contains a summary of the provisions of 2011 Wisconsin Act 14 (AB 4) which apply to motor vehicle insurance policies that are newly issued or renewed on or after November 1, 2011. Please review the actual statutory language in order to determine how it affects you or your company. Copies of any legislation are available from Legislative Documents, 1 East Main Street, Madison, WI 53703, (608) 266-2400 or through the Legislature's Web site at http://legis.wisconsin.gov.

Department of Transportation Law Changes—Insurance-Related

Sections 344.01 (2) (d), 344.15 (1), 344.33 (2), and 344.55 (1), Wis. Stat., decrease the motor vehicle liability minimum limits to the following: [s. 344.01 (2) (am) repealed]

  • $25,000 because of bodily injury to or death of one person in any one accident and, subject to such limit for one person, in the amount of $50,000 because of bodily injury to or death of two or more persons in any one accident, and $10,000 because of injury to or destruction of property of others in any one accident.

The mandatory insurance requirements under Subchapter VI of Chapter 344, Wis. Stat., have not changed.

Insurance Law Changes

Subchapter IV of Chapter 632, Wis. Stat., is amended as follows:

  1. A definition of "commercial liability insurance" has been added to mirror s. Ins 6.77 (3) (am), Wis. Adm. Code. [s. 632.32 (2) (ac)]
  2. A definition of "phantom motor vehicle" has been added. [s. 632.32 (2) (bh)]
  3. The definition of "underinsured motor vehicle" has been repealed. [s. 632.32 (2) (e) repealed]
  4. A governmental vehicle, as defined, is exempted from the definition of an "uninsured motor vehicle". [s. 632.32 (2) (g)]
  5. The definition of an "uninsured motor vehicle" has been changed to include conditions for accidents involving a phantom motor vehicle. [s. 632.32 (2) (g) 2]
    A phantom motor vehicle is an uninsured motor vehicle, if all of the following apply:
    1. The facts of the accident are corroborated by competent evidence that is provided by someone other than the insured or any other person.
    2. Within 72 hours after the accident, the insured or someone on behalf of the insured reports the accident to a police, peace, or judicial office or to the department of transportation.
    3. Within 30 days after the accident occurs, the insured or someone on behalf of the insured files with the insurer a statement under oath.
  6. Uninsured Motorist coverage limits have decreased to a minimum of $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident. [s. 632.32 (4) (a) 1]
  7. Underinsured Motorist coverage is no longer mandatory. Coverage limits have been decreased to a minimum of $50,000 per person and $100,000 per accident. Notice of coverage availability is required with the delivery of the policy. Coverage may be rejected. [s. 632.32 (4m) // s. 632.32 (4) (a) 2m repealed]
  8. Minimum Medical Payments coverage limits have been decreased to at least $1,000 per person. Coverage may be rejected. [s. 632.32 (4) (a) 2 // formerly s. 632.32 (4) (a) 3m]
  9. Umbrella or excess liability policies that insure, with respect to a motor vehicle, against loss resulting from liability imposed by law for bodily injury or death of a person arising out of the ownership, maintenance or use of a motor vehicle are no longer required to offer Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist coverage. [s. 632.32 (4r) repealed]
  10. Stacking of Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist limits, up to 3 motor vehicles, is no longer required. Anti-stacking language is allowed. [s. 632.32 (5) (f) and (g) // s. 632.32 (6) (d) and (e) repealed]
  11. Stacking of Medical Payments limits, up to 3 motor vehicles, for a person who was not using a motor vehicle at the time of an accident is no longer required. [s. 632.32 (6) (f) repealed]
  12. A policy may provide that the limits under the policy for Uninsured Motorist or Underinsured Motorist coverage for bodily injury or death resulting from any one accident may be reduced by: [s. 632.32 (5) (i) // s. 632.32 (6) (g) repealed]
    1. Amounts paid by or on behalf of any person or organization that may be legally responsible for the bodily injury or death for which the payment is made;
    2. Amounts paid or payable under any worker's compensation law; and
    3. Amounts paid or payable under any disability benefits laws.
  13. An insurer is no longer prohibited from placing an applicant or insured in a high-risk category on the basis that the applicant or insured has not previously had motor vehicle insurance. [s. 632.355 repealed]

It should also be noted that the above provisions, where applicable, do result in a renewal with altered terms. Notification requirements under s. 631.36 (5), Wis. Stat., apply because the provisions are on less favorable terms, as contemplated under the statute for such notice.

Questions concerning this bulletin can be directed to:

Mandatory auto insurance and enforcement of financial responsibilityWisconsin Department of Transportation
(608) 266-2353
Auto insurance issuesRonnie Demergian
(608) 266-7077
ronnie.demergian@wisconsin.gov