One Call And That Might Not Be All

By Kenneth Cooper

There’s this bill, supposedly the most important bill being debated this legislative session. This most important bill is designed to stop an age old come-up, one people here in Louisiana have used for generations to get their hands on some cash. The bill is called the Omnibus Premium Reduction Act of 2019, aka HB 372. The come-up it’s designed to stop is called getting in a wreck and suing the other person’s insurance company for inflated medical bills.

Involved in this are these lawyers who advertise on TV. You’ve seen them. They’re the ones  who advise you to call them if you’re injured in an accident. Sometimes their ads are very creative. They promise you that if you give them a call, you’ll get a check. As proof, they show other people who’ve supposedly given them a call and gotten checks to get on TV and testify on the lawyer’s behalf. These personal injury attorneys specialize in negotiating settlements based on medical bills, or as insurance companies probably claim – they specialize in getting their clients to fake or exaggerate injuries. Personal injury attorneys probably won’t like this most important bill being debated this legislative session.

According to the author of bill, Louisiana is a sue happy state, and when insurance companies pay out inflated settlements, they usually pass the costs on to their customers, which results in Louisiana having some of the highest car insurance rates in the country. One way the bill attempts to stop these inflated settlements is to make insurance companies less liable for a person’s medical bills. If you’re injured in an accident and your health insurance or Medicare pays for your treatment, then according to HB 372 the other person’s insurance company won’t be liable for the total amount the hospital bills like they are now. Instead, they’ll only be responsible for the amount your insurance company actually pays, which translates to the settlement being based on the treatment received rather than an inflated estimate of injuries.

Besides limiting the amount of a claim, the bill also tries to change how quick a personal injury attorney can get a check to you. Right now, an insurance company has a year to settle and pay claims. HB 372 would extend that to two years. It would also make cases more likely to be judged by juries instead of a judge. Under current law, a case has to exceed $50,000 to be eligible for a jury trial. HB 372 would drop that down to $5000. In theory, a trial by jury would take longer than simply going before a judge. It would also be more expensive, since you’d be paying your lawyer to present a prolonged case.

Interestingly, the bill ignores other factors that cause our state to have high insurance rates.  For example, insurance companies often charge people with bad credit more for coverage. Call it the indirect correlation effect, where a person’s premium rises as their credit score lowers. Apparently, if there’s one thing Louisiana has a plethora of besides sportsmen, it’s people with bad credit. It also has a plethora of bad roads, like really bad roads, roads that make you consider storing a front end in your trunk along with a jack and spare tire.

Representative Kirk Talbot(R), the author of the bill says he’s trying to make Louisiana a less litigious state. The savings from this move would theoretically be passed onto the customer. To ensure this, the bill calls for insurance companies to submit rate filings to the Dept. of Insurance for the first three years after the bill has passed. The Dept would then determine if rates need to be lowered or not.

This is all similar to the same tort reform Republicans argue for when it comes to health insurance. The problem they say isn’t the insurance companies but predatory lawyers forcing the companies into settlements that result in higher rates. If the lawsuits decrease, they say savings will eventually trickle down to customers. We shall see. HB 372 has passed the House last week and is now waiting to be heard in the Senate.

Bob Dylan once said, “Don’t follow leaders / watch your parking meters.” If this bill passes, you may want to consider judging your legislators based on how this affects your insurance rates.

One thought on “Legislators Debate Insurance Rates”
  1. What else are legislators debating?

    LBRC- This Has to be a Cruel Hoax!!! *A Copy of this email will go to NOLA Councilpersons!

    La. Oil Wants to “Dump NORM” into the Mississippi River where New Orleans and other Parishes have “Their Public Water Intake Streams/Valves” and “No” city Public Official” is raising the Alarm? You have got to be kidding!

    1. Oil and Gas produces NORM/Naturally Occurring Radioactive Sources from Land and Dredging Operations. How come you don’t know this? “Google” it! Btw- Industries are “Flaring” more than normal along the river- Just go and look!!! 

    2. TRI already “Self- Reports” aka “Would you give yourself a ticket”? La. Oil and Gas, LCA et al, was “Investigated by The U.S. Civil Rights Commission” about “Environmental Racism”! EPA says Industries “Expose” citizens to “Cancer Spike Rates”! Ask Attorney Monique Harden, friend of Gen. Honoree (Real NOLA Hero) for a copy!!! Crickets from Council People, including the one who boast so- called prestigious memberships, yeah right! What is wrong with you people, you can’t be this “Void” of Common Sense and Reason. So- called TRI reports ranging in the “Tons” is there for you to review! J Banks claims membership on so- called “Prestigious” so- called “Science Boards”, at least it’s what he intimates, ask him? 

    3. It’s not enough ‘Dat Your NOLA Delegation are clueless, who the typical NOLA citizen can’t tell you who theirs is, but “Why Don’t you care enough about your “Drinking Water” to demand answers”? btw- ***”Not all Hydrocarbons are measured aka THC and VOC, only those negotiated to be measured when we protested as Activist, Students, Rule XX Lawyers under Tulane and Loyola Clinic Attorneys!!! Mary, Joseph and Marta Caroli…

    4. A Bill has passed the “Natural Resources” Committee which would allow “Covert Dumping (Unmonitored Independent) Self- Reporting of Massive Amounts of TRI” some of which has to be NORM, especially “Pipe Field” agents? Somewhere along The Mississippi River, an Army of Imbeciles and Idiots has successfully overrun and even been elected representing ‘Simps! God help the few 7- 10% enlightened! Abba Father hear us…

    5. Morons all along the river are loosing “Public Dollars” for “Golf Courses” and proliferating Pesticides, Insecticides, ‘Humancides like a sieve looses H2O! 

    6. Prophetic about literacy? “If you think education is expensive, wait until you find out the cost for ignorance”! “We” proclaim 2 new diseases- ‘Moronitus and ‘Idiotitus!!!

    7. Something “is” in the water, we believe it to be either Moron of ‘Idiotiitus!

    Lose the ‘Cricketitus!!! You don’t need your “Fair Share” of this!!! 

    Louisiana’s Educational Ranking and schools will be the death of you, pun not intended!!! “Expect an even larger “Dead Zone” at “The Foot” of The River! Yo do have knowledge about ‘Dat? Never mind…, Mary Joseph and 3 in a Furnace… 

    Peace Out…

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