Press Release
4/12/2011
 
Governor Walker Signs Anti-Consumer Legislation
 
In another march against the rights of consumers, Governor Walker signed Assembly Bill 4, which takes away the right of automobile insurance consumers to get the coverage that they pay for.
 
“This is really a sad day for automobile insurance consumers,” said Mike End, President of the Wisconsin Association for Justice. “The new law rolls back important consumer protections that were enacted in 2009.”
 
Anti-consumer measures of the new law include:
  • Allowing insurance companies to provide consumers injured through no fault of their own less coverage than the consumers paid for. The new law lets insurance companies reduce your underinsured motorist coverage by whatever insurance the driver who hit you has.  So if you have $100,000 in UIM coverage and the other driver has $50,000 in coverage, the most your policy would provide is $50,000, no matter how serious your injuries and the cost of your care.
  • Redefining underinsured motorist coverage so that consumers injured in a serious accident might not see one dime of the coverage they purchased.
  • Permitting insurance companies to make payment on only one policy even though the consumer may have purchased multiple underinsured and uninsured auto policies to ensure the best coverage for themselves and their family.
  • Allowing commercial policyholders – like delivery trucks – to no longer be required to carry uninsured or underinsured coverage on their vehicles.
  • Reducing the minimum coverage amounts for liability insurance to the levels first enacted in 1982. 
“The new law is really a gift to insurance companies,” said End. “There is absolutely no reason why consumers should not receive all of the insurance coverage they pay premiums for if their damages are serious. Insurance companies have not been hurt by the present law. American Family Insurance, the largest auto insurer in the state, had its net income increase almost 90 percent in 2010, up from $256.9 million in 2009 to 487.1 million in 2010.”
 
End said, “Insurance companies decried the previous change in the law telling people their insurance premiums would be going up as much as 33 percent.  For most people, that did not happen. In fact, Carinsurance.com reviewed Wisconsin auto insurance rates and found that the average auto insurance premium here was 24 percent lower in 2010 than in 2009.”
 
“Given the significant changes in the law and the potentially devastating effect on consumers, the Wisconsin Association for Justice will be working to educate Wisconsin citizens on how to protect their rights and how to get the insurance coverage they pay for,” concluded End.
 
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.
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