Biz Beat: The big auto insurance lie

MIKE IVEY | The Capital Times 
Posted: Thursday, April 14, 2011 8:15 am

Media outlets statewide were reporting this week that a rollback of auto insurance reforms pushed by the Walker adminstration will save money for cash-strapped consumers.

But the reality is that Wisconsin auto insurance premiums have actually been falling and remain among the lowest in the nation.

You can read that here.

The bill signed by Walker Tuesday basically rolls back a host of reforms passed two years ago when Democrats controlled the statehouse.

"This is really a sad day for automobile insurance consumers," says Mike End, President of the Wisconsin Association for Justice, a trial lawyers group.

The new law reduces mandatory coverage amounts but also restores the use of "reducing clauses" which lets insurers reduce the amount they pay out in an accident.

For example, if you have $100,000 in underinsured motorist coverage and the other driver has $50,000 in coverage, the most your policy would provide under a reducing clause is $50,000, no matter how serious the injuries.

To see how reducing clauses can impact injured drivers read this story about Mary and Rudy Girardi of Waunakee.

"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," says End.

But why let the facts get in the way? If the Dems were for it, it must be wrong.

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