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BIA, NH organizations oppose eliminating caps for wrongful death loss of consortium claims

BIA, NH organizations oppose eliminating caps for wrongful death loss of consortium claims

The Business & Industry Association joined organizations representing all sectors of the New Hampshire economy in stating opposition to a bill as currently written that would eliminate caps for wrongful death loss of consortium claims. Please read the letter submitted to the state Senate presented below:

February 16, 2024

Dear members of the Senate:

The Business & Industry Association, New Hampshire’s statewide chamber of commerce and leading nonpartisan business advocate, joins organizations representing all sectors of the state economy to urge you to reject SB 462, which would radically expand the damages that could be awarded in wrongful death lawsuits, on top of what a decedent’s estate already can recover. The bill, if enacted, would eliminate caps for wrongful death loss of consortium claims. This is a major policy shift, which could increase claims, litigation, jury verdicts and settlements. The potential impact on New Hampshire businesses, consumers and the economy could be significant.

To date, proponents of this bill have provided no analysis of potential costs of this legislation. However, we know from other states that removing caps on damages will come at a price. We believe legislators should not act without having an accurate fiscal analysis of the impact on state and local government, the private sector and individuals. Any claim that paying more people more money has no fiscal implications is greatly misleading.

This bill could drive up liability insurance costs for public and private entities and individuals across the state, perhaps healthcare professionals and facilities more than any others. According to an actuarial analysis by Milliman, Inc. of a similar, albeit more expensive, bill in New York, the legislation would have increased medical professional liability costs by 40% or more. An additional annual cost of that magnitude might be enough to drive physicians to avoid practicing medicine in some specialties altogether. New Hampshire’s healthcare workforce shortage does not need additional strain. Personal automobile liability and small business general liability insurance would likely also increase significantly, as the Milliman study predicts.

Insurance premiums are already rising in this hard market. The New Hampshire Insurance Department has expressed its concern that this bill will increase premiums at a difficult time, and the department expressed particular concern about the challenges facing nonprofit organizations in the state. This bill is part of a larger national trend of attempts by plaintiffs’ attorneys to expand wrongful death lawsuits nationally (seen in at least 11 states in the last year). When taken as a whole, New Hampshire law already provides wrongful death benefits that are in the mainstream nationally and putting us among states whose laws are extreme is not good policy.

This coalition urges you to vote this bill, which would dramatically alter the historically balanced liability environment in our state, inexpedient to legislate.

Thank you for your leadership and for taking the time to consider our perspective.


Michael Skelton

President & CEO

Business and Industry Association


American Property Casualty Insurance Association

Associated General Contractors of NH

National Federation of Independent Business

NH Association of Domestic Insurance Companies

NH Association of Insurance Agents

NH Association of Residential Care Homes

NH Health Care Association

NH Hospital Association

NH Medical Society

NH Motor Transport Association

NH Nurse Practitioner Association

NH Society of Physician Assistants

Professional Insurance Agents of NH

Additional co-signers after initial release of letter

Ski NH

NH Retail Lumber Association

National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies

NH Municipal Association

NH Association of Counties

NH Automobile Dealers Association

Additional Info

Media Contact : Rick Fabrizio,

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