“People in Wisconsin deserve to receive the automobile insurance coverage that they pay for,” Wisconsin Association for Justice (WAJ) President Mark Thomsen declared as he praised Governor Jim Doyle for recognizing the health care and tax cost savings by requiring that automobile insurance companies honor the insurance coverage that consumers buy.
By denying policyholders access to the automobile insurance coverage that they paid for, those involved in serious auto accidents causing injury have had to use their health insurance or taxpayer funded healthcare like Medicaid to pay for medical expenses.
“We think those costs should be paid by automobile insurance companies as consumers assume they are,” Thomsen said. “Eventually we should see a positive impact on both health care and Medicaid costs if automobile insurance companies begin paying claims that policyholders already have coverage for.”
“This is a long overdue protection for consumers,” Thomsen added. “People need to know that the insurance they purchase will be there if they, or members of their family, are injured in an automobile accident. We commend Governor Doyle for putting the protection of people over the profits of the insurance industry.”
The provision, known as “Truth in Auto Insurance,” is a part of the Governor’s proposed 2009-2011 state budget. It would overturn a number of provisions from a 1995 law lobbied by the insurance industry that has denied thousands of motorists millions of dollars in automobile coverage they assumed they were eligible to receive. The insurance industry pushed for the changes to the law so that they could reduce coverage for people who are injured by underinsured motorists.
Thomsen expressed his hope that the legislature would agree that these provisions would help to restore accountability to the insurance industry and provide insurance consumers, including businesses that provide auto insurance and fleet vehicle coverage, with confidence that they would receive the protection that they pay for when purchasing automobile insurance.
“With medical expenses being involved in 50% of bankruptcies and the cost of unpaid health care bills often falling to the taxpayers this common sense legislation will protect consumers and taxpayers alike,” Thomsen concluded.
For more information on the Truth in Auto Insurance provisions visit: www.wisjustice.org
Mark L. Thomsen is the President of the Wisconsin Association for Justice. The Wisconsin Association for Justice stands with consumers to promote a fair and effective justice system for every citizen, not just the privileged and wealthy.