TV reporter injured in boating accident advocates for insurance reform

MinnPost photo by Briana Bierschbach
Minnesota State Capitol

Sounds absurd. The Pioneer Press’ Dave Orrick reports: “When Twin Cities TV reporter Courtney Godfrey lost part of her leg in a boating accident over the summer, she assumed the boat owner’s insurance policy would help. … But she quickly learned the boat’s liability policy excluded her. … Because the boat was owned by her husband. … ‘We were like: “WHAT?!”’ says Godfrey, a KMSP-TV reporter who lost the lower portion on her left leg in the propeller after she was flung overboard while the boat was making a turn on Christmas Lake in September.”

Making a hard job harder. The Star Tribune’s Kelly Smith reports: “Counselors, social workers and other Minneapolis school staff are bracing for hundreds of possible layoffs this year to help address the school district’s projected $33 million deficit. … Preliminary numbers from the district show that the potential layoffs could affect an estimated 350 to 400 full-time equivalent jobs. … Some teachers, parents and students are outraged over the proposed loss of staff and class size increases to help close the shortfall. About a dozen people showed up at Tuesday’s school board meeting to protest the cuts and even more plan to pack an April 10 meeting as the district revises its budget before final approval in June.”

Rolling out the rail carpet. For Urban Milwaukee, Jeramey Jannene writes: “With Foxconn’s proposed $10 billion factory campus in southern Racine County poised to reshape southeastern Wisconsin, Milwaukee Alderman Robert Bauman has introduced the idea of a commuter rail line to connect city residents to the estimated 13,000 jobs the company is poised to create. The transit advocate has been seeking to draw attention to the need to develop a way for Milwaukee residents, approximately 25 percent of whom don’t have cars, to get to the massive factory campus.”

What would your map look like? The Star Tribune’s Jeff Hargarten reports: “As renewed concerns over digital privacy splash across the headlines, I was recently reminded of just how much data we’re sharing with tech companies, right down to each step we take. … Specifically, while transitioning smartphones, I unlocked the depths of what Google had been collecting on me: more than 300,000 data points recording each trip to work, return home, stroll up Nicollet Mall, beer stop in Northeast, grocery run and suburban visit to my dad’s. … It knew the names of each business and building I walked into, without a specific check in (something I rarely do). It figured out whether I was walking, driving or riding the LRT, calculated distance and elevation and timestamped it all down to the second. … If my life could possibly be distilled down into a single dataset, this got pretty close.”

In other news…

Fair change:Pronto Pups to Take Over Former Historic Robbinsdale OES Dining Hall at State Fair” [KSTP]

Guess her favorite book:Minnesota’s top high school archer is girl from a St. Paul school” [Pioneer Press]

Grim anniversary:20 years since St. Peter tornado” [KARE]

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Comments (5)

  1. Submitted by Henk Tobias on 03/29/2018 - 02:32 pm.

    Read the Insurance article

    Its interesting the BS reasons insurance apologists have for not covering family members. Moral hazard? What is that supposed to mean? Senate Majority Leader Paul “the other stable genius” Gazelka says: “I would rather change auto insurance so we would have lower premiums,” So rather than having boat insurance cover more people Paul would like to make it so Car Insurers can cover less. What a swell fella he is. Why is it that Republicans always want to buy cheap junk policies. “Yeah, I got this insurance dirt cheap, well no it doesn’t cover anything, but its really really cheap.” WTH?

  2. Submitted by James Hamilton on 03/29/2018 - 03:31 pm.

    Right and wrong.

    From the linked article on boating insurance:

    Minnesota’s insurance industry is fighting this.

    The proposal would make boat insurance cost more, and create an incentive for fraud and abuse, said Mark Kulda, vice president of public affairs for the Insurance Federation of Minnesota.

    Liability claims are based on accusing someone of negligence. That’s how the system is set up. To allow family members to accuse each other of negligence creates a “moral hazard” wherein all involved — except the insurance company — could benefit from essentially lying about injuries or other damages.

    The distinction between boat insurance and car insurance, he said, is that the analogous car insurance in Minnesota — personal injury protection (PIP) — is “no fault,” meaning it doesn’t matter whether anyone involved was negligent.

    Even though it’s been like that for decades, the insurance industry doesn’t necessarily like it.

    “The problem is we’re overpaying for insurance right now in Minnesota,” Kulda said. “We don’t want that with boat insurance. People will stop buying it. That’s not good for us or boat owners.”
    _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

    Yes, there can be and are cases in which family members collude in order to trigger coverage under liability coverages. I’ve seen it in both auto and homeowners’ claims. That doesn’t mean it’s common or that it warrants precluding all claims. In this particular instance,what Ms. Godfrey was doing at the time of her injury will be factored into any recovery, whether by settlement or verdict. The fact that a family member was driving the boat should not preclude recovey, any more than it should had a car been involved.

    Insurance serves a broader purpose than protecting injured individuals. It also serves to insulate society from the effects on uncompensated injuries, particularly disabilities and unpaid medical bills.

    No Fault is NOT the analogous coverage! Auto policies contain both No Fault coverage (affording medical expense and wage loss coverage within specified limits, along with other incidental coverages) and liability coverage. Liability coverage is what is at issue in Ms. Godfrey’s case.

    As for over paying for car insurance, is Mr. Kulda implying that’s due to the law? I’d like to see him make that case with dollars, cents, and data. Perhaps he’ll start with some numbers on auto insurer profits in Minnesota in the last decade.

    • Submitted by Henk Tobias on 03/29/2018 - 04:02 pm.

      Ha, Mr. Kulda doesn’t need the data

      that you suggest, he knows we’re being over charged because he represents the people who are over charging us.

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 03/29/2018 - 04:48 pm.

      Morally Hazardous

      “To allow family members to accuse each other of negligence creates a “moral hazard” wherein all involved — except the insurance company — could benefit from essentially lying about injuries or other damages.”

      That is a classic example of a red herring. Spouses have been allowed to sue one another for negligence in Minnesota since 1969 (years before the No-Fault Act). Parental immunity from suits by their children was fully abolished in 1980.

      Distinguishing between automobile and boat insurance on this basis is only halfway correct. If a person is injured by a family member’s negligent operation of a motor vehicle, that person is entitled to collect no-fault benefits. However, if the injured person meets the threshold for bringing an injury claim, they are free to do so, and the family member’s liability carrier is bound to defend and pay any damages.

  3. Submitted by richard owens on 03/30/2018 - 10:26 am.

    Being thrown from a sudden boat move?

    well. it sure sounds like “negligence” by the driver, unless circumstances mitigated the move.

    But who would give up a leg to scam the insurance company?

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