BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - A 2017 study from Insure.com said Louisiana's auto insurance rates trailed only Michigan's and that was before additional rate hikes were approved late last year. Some of those increases were as high as 22 percent.
State Senator Sharon Hewitt is attempting to put the brakes on our soaring rates by doing away with something known as the "seat belt gag law." The law prevents a jury from knowing if someone injured in an accident was wearing a seat belt. In short, this law results in higher payments from insurance companies when an accident goes to trial.
Senator Hewitt's bill made it through the Transportation Committee and onto the Senate floor for approval. It was here that Senator Rick Ward threw up a road block, leading an effort to move the bill to the Judiciary A Committee. Senator Ward, like six of the seven members on the Judiciary Committee, is also a trial lawyer. This bill would reduce trial settlement payments. Senator Hewitt says the move to send the bill to committee was like the death sentence for her proposal.
We hope that's not the case. To be fair, lawsuit abuse is only one part of the problem. High numbers of uninsured and drivers with minimum coverage are among a slew of issues driving our soaring rates. But Senator Hewitt's bill seems to be a good start in stopping that trend. We hope the Senate gives her bill the fair consideration it deserves.
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