For Immediate Release
2/7/2011
 
Wisconsin Senate To Consider Biggest Anti-Consumer Legislation This Session

The Wisconsin Senate on Tuesday will debate what could be the biggest anti-consumer legislation citizens will see come before the legislature this session. Senate Bill 7 (dealing with auto insurance changes), the measure the Senate is seeking to pass, will significantly hinder consumers' ability to have the injuries and bills they sustain in serious accidents covered by the insurance they thought they had purchased. Instead of knowing that they have the coverage they paid for, consumers will be left in the dark to guess what will be covered.

Mike End, President of the Wisconsin Association for Justice, said, "I am disappointed and dismayed by the legislature's continued effort to strip Wisconsin citizens of consumer protections that keep citizens safe and help provide them with a minimal level of protection."

Anti-consumer measures in this legislation proposed by the Republican lawmakers include:

  • Allowing insurance companies to insert complex language into polices that could result in consumers not having available to them the full amount of coverage they purchased - called a "reducing clause."
  • Permitting insurance companies to only make payment on 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.
  • Redefining underinsured motorist coverage so it is possible that if consumers are in a serious accident, they might not see one dime of the coverage they purchased in good faith.
  • Rolling back the minimum coverage amounts for liability insurance to the levels first enacted in 1982 - not accounting for any increased costs from 1982 through 2011.
  • Allowing commercial policyholders to no longer be required to carry uninsured or underinsured coverage on their vehicles.

These measures add to the growing list of anti-consumer legislation being passed by the legislature and signed into law by the Governor.  Already this year laws have been passed that: make it more difficult to prosecute criminals, put vulnerable nursing home residents at risk for negligent care, protect corporations that sell unsafe products, and severely limit the deterrents for negligent behavior by corporations that sell dangerous and defective products.

"Wisconsin citizens expect the legislature to enact laws that protect them and their families. Instead they are on the receiving end of anti-consumer and anti-family laws that this legislature seems intent on passing," said End. "It should be the priority of the legislature to draft laws for all Wisconsin citizens, not just corporations."

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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