Since late last week, we have heard rumors that HB 924 was signed by the Governor. Before today, there was no confirmation of this on either the Legislature's or the Governor's websites.
As you recall, HB 924 states that "occurrence" in a liability policy "shall be construed in accordance with the law as it existed at the time that the insurance policy was issued." The bill was originally drafted to more aggressively overturn the Hawaii Court of Appeal's decision in Group Builders v. Admiral Ins., 123 Haw. 142, 231 P.3d 67 (Haw. Ct. App. 2010). Under the initial bill, courts were instructed to "presume that the work of a construction professional that results in property damage, including damage to the work itself or other work, is an accident unless the property damage is intended and expected by the insured." The bill was originally designed to apply to existing policies, which created an uproar among the insurers.
I called the Governor's office this morning to confirm the rumor. The receptionist I spoke with viewed the Legislature's website, as I have done daily for the past week, to confirm HB 924 had not been signed by the Governor. An hour later, however, the Governor's office called to inform me the Governor signed HB 924 "last week." And since my conversations with the Governor's office this morning, the Legislature's website has been updated to reflect that the bill was signed last Friday, June 3, 2011.
Here is the bill. Our prior posts on the bill are here and here. It will be interesting to see how this bill impacts several construction defect lawsuits currently pending in state and federal courts.