Jim Brown: Who’s at Fault for High Auto Insurance Rates?

Thursday, February 20th, 2014
Baton Rouge, Louisiana


When political courage wanes and politicians, often in desperation, search for a quick fix to age old problems, particularly as election times draws near, these men (and a few women) of supposed courage often seek out a scapegoat to blame. “Passing the buck” on someone else is standard operating procedure in the halls of congress as well as the state legislature in Baton Rouge. This is particularly true in dealing with the fact that Louisiana has the highest automobile insurance rates in America, and has for years.

The legal profession has always been an easy mark for the blame. Many people agree with Shakespeare when he said, “the first thing you do is to kill all the lawyers.” Now barristers in the Bayou State have become the whipping boys by insurance officials and a few legislators, in efforts to divert attention from their own ineptitude of failing to address the real causes for high insurance rates in Louisiana.

Of course there is a great need to address the high coast of auto rates. Louisiana has led the nation for the past ten years in having the most expensive costs that have made insurance unaffordable for many drivers. Consumer advocacy website NerdWallet found that drivers in the New Orleans area pay an average auto premium of $4,309.61 a year.

This week, insurance officials announced that, voila-they had found the quick fix that will cause the cost of insurance for Louisiana drivers to plummet. Simply put, blame it on the lawyers. That’s right. Greedy lawyers are working in concert with cooperating judges to see that plaintiffs who are injured in auto accidents get big verdicts. According to this questionable reasoning, juries will be much more sympathetic to big insurance companies.
In Louisiana, any lawsuit with an award that can exceed $50,000 requires a jury trial, unless both sides agree otherwise. A few legislators and insurance officials, who more often than not dance to the tune of the insurance industry, want to allow jury trials in all litigated cases. The problem for those who are injured and decide to sue, is that they face drastically higher costs, which have to be paid up front. Insurance company attorneys can beat them down with piles of motions all related to picking a jury.

Anderson Cooper on CNN has done a series of reports (all available on line) about how the nation’s top auto instance companies purposely drag out jury trials in an effort to wear down — financially and physically — those damaged in auto accidents. Many insurance departments turn the other way to this calculated effort by the insurance industry to lessen the amount they have to pay out. Continue Reading……………

Thursday Links: The Walkers cave as the jailbreak begins

You gotta figure Mr. Ziegler and Ms. Shumate can’t be far behind. As for me I think I need a bit more coffee.  😉

Bill and Scott Walker ready to plead guilty to felonies ~ Anita Lee

From the it must be nice to know Fugate files…… (h/t Sun Herald)

Why Taxpayers Will Bail Out the Rich When the Next Storm Hits ~ Bill Dedman

Meet the Flood Insurance ‘Robin Hood’ Who Saves Condo Owners Millions ~ Bill Dedman

So there you have it folks, people with side condos on the beach get the NFIP’s best rates while homeowners in Bay St Louis get stuck with their bill. Worth noting is Congressman Steven Palazzo voted for Biggert-Waters Act, an act that will likely bankrupt substantial numbers of his own constituents. Heckuva job Palazzi!

3 Doors Down’s Todd Harrell needs an intervention ~ Sun Herald Editorial Board

Cochran’s not the only one who doesn’t know McDaniel ~ Paul Hampton

Finally a two pack from the Advocate:

Jefferson hospital consultant to review only proposals to run both facilities ~ Jeff Adelson

Man charged with running ‘child exploitation’ ring ~ Jim Mustain