Consumers Win with Increased Protections
Benefit to Policy Holders Has Stayed Flat Since 1982, Despite Spikes in Auto, Health Care Costs

The proposed state budget would increase the minimum liability limits for medical and property damages that were established in 1982 to reflect the real costs of medical care and automobile prices today.

“This will be a huge win for the hardworking people of Wisconsin who spend ever-increasing prices for car insurance,” said Mark Thomsen, President of the Wisconsin Association of Justice. “What we pay to the insurance companies has skyrocketed, but what we get back from them hasn’t changed since 1982.”

“If the insurance industry really cared about policyholders it would make sure they have the coverage they need.  If they are really worried about affordability they would not use credit scores to punish those with the least ability to pay,” explained Mark Thomsen, WAJ president.  “In the end the only one who raises rates are the insurance companies and since they are among the most profitable businesses in the country, earning over $30 billion in profits each year – it’s clear they are more interested in profits than protecting consumers.”

“In 1982 an average car cost was $9,890 and the minimum property damage limit was set at $10,000, so why in 2009 when the average price of a new car is nearly $23,000 does the insurance industry think raising the limit to $25,000 is inappropriate?” asked Thomsen.

“Medical costs also have not remained flat for the last 27 years either.  According to the medical consumer price index the cost of medical care has increased more than four fold since 1982.  That means that medical costs that would have run $25,000 in 1982 now cost $104,851.  So why would the insurance industry oppose increasing the limit to $100,000?” questioned Thomsen.

Thomsen said the pro-consumer plan, which is a part of the proposed state budget, takes a much-needed step to restore fairness and balance to the relationship between consumers and insurance companies.

“Raising these limits is about providing consumers the protection they really need if they are injured in an accident.  No one injured today pays the same price for medical care or property damage they paid in 1982 and our minimum coverage should reflect today’s real costs,” concluded Thomsen.


The Wisconsin Association for Justice stands with consumers to promote a fair and effective justice system for every citizen, not just the wealthy and privileged.


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