Our Views: Louisiana has chance to shed car insurance burden; don’t let greedy lawyers kill it ~ Baton Rouge Advocate Editorial Board
Eleven plus years ago Slabbed’s first topic and one that would dominate these pages for years involved the intersection of the insurance industry and it’s favorite taxpayer funded piggie to milk in the National Flood Insurance Program. Our focus was on the property and casualty side of the equation though we covered to a lesser extent auto insurance.
Pricing these financial vehicles are closely held trade secrets but we learned that retail insurers liked writing auto policies because the actuarial data was very reliable in predicting losses and so premiums could be, according to the insurers accurately priced versus property and casualty coverage which is accompanied by large tail risks associated with tropical cyclones. [Those interested in the concept of Fat Tail Risk should buy Nassim Taleb’s newest book or click here] Of course we also learned early on is that the insurance industry has an anti trust exemption that helps shield it from competition. Pricing thus is part an exercise in the arcane and part navigating smokescreens.
According to the Advocate, the problem is greedy lawyers and if the people would just give up more of their legal rights, Uncle Jimbo will wave his magic wand and make everything alright.
It is at this point that I’ll disclose what caused Slabbed to engage this particular issue is a twitter exchange between Lamar White and The Advocate’s lawyer Scott Sternberg over White pointing out the chief propagandist carrying the insurance industry’s message to the Louisiana legislature and that makes it rich on a couple of different levels. So when the Advocate blamed greedy lawyers for the high cost of insurance I immediately thought of the late Louis Nizer:
When a man points a finger at someone else, he should remember that four of his fingers are pointing at himself.
It’s fair to wonder if the Advocate rents out it’s editorial page to the LABI
given their supremely ignorant take on the main reasons driving the cost of auto coverage in Louisiana. Luckily for those wanting a deeper dive, Lamar White has an entire series on the Bayou Brief which details the reasons auto insurance is so damn expensive in Louisiana. First Lamar sets the stage for the PR offensive to take away your rights. For instance a widow’s insurance costs more than if her hubby were still alive. Unreported by the Advocate but huge is the role your personal credit scores plays into your auto premiums and Lamar covered that finding, Auto Insurers Charge Wealthy Drivers with a DWI Staggeringly Less Than Drivers with a Spotless Record but Poor Credit. Notice the lack of greedy lawyers in either of those two important cost drivers (and there are more including the zip code in which in you live).
Normally newspaper opinion pieces, especially those put out by the editorial board have some sort of basis in fact beyond regurgitating a press release sent by a lobbyist with a pretty smile. I wouldn’t expect much substantive reporting on this particular issue out of John Georges operation as the financial issues at play are evidently too complicated for the gang to grasp. The Bayou Brief gets props for tackling a hard subject in a way everyone can understand.