The mostly-Republican state legislature in Wisconsin has introduced two key bills that may grossly change the state’s auto insurance laws.
We don’t usually quote things verbatim, but given the fact that this press release came only today, and the vote is tomorrow, we’re sharing it in its entirety:
Yesterday, the Republican-controlled legislature quietly introduced two bills, AB 4 and SB 7, to repeal key consumer protection provisions in Wisconsin’s “Truth in Auto Insurance” laws. These provisions help protect all Wisconsin citizens injured by drunk drivers, and shield consumers from insurance companies who refuse to play it straight with auto insurance coverage. A joint hearing for the bill has been scheduled at breakneck speed for this Wednesday, January 19.
Mike End, President of the Wisconsin Association for Justice said, “The proposed new laws will let drunk drivers carry less automobile insurance. This means that if a drunk driver crashes into you or a loved one, the drunk driver won’t have as much insurance to pay for your injuries or damages to your car. Responsible drivers will be left holding the bag and not be paid for medical bills and lost wages.”
The repeal of the “Truth in Auto Insurance” law also returns Wisconsin to a lower standard of accountability that no longer requires insurance companies to play it straight with consumers. This allows them to insert fine print into complex auto insurance contracts to deny the consumer the coverage they paid for and purchased in good faith.
Under this bill, when your spouse is hit and seriously injured by an underinsured driver, your insurance company will be “let off the hook” for not having to cover you for the full amount you thought you purchased. Insurance companies will be allowed to cleverly insert “reducing clause” language into the fine print; this will reduce their exposure for losses in spite of the fact that they’ve already collected premiums from consumers.
To make matters worse, consumers will only be allowed to collect on one auto policy even if they have paid for coverage on multiple cars in one household. A reasonable person would believe it works similar to life insurance where you can collect on all of the coverage you have purchased. It’s no wonder these laws are being pushed through at breakneck speed, if anyone chose to look deeper into them, they’d be mortified.
When these existing laws passed it was a seven-month process of hearings and public input. This new legislation is being rammed through the legislature without any input from the public and no input from experts.
“Wisconsin consumers expect the companies they do business with to play it straight. Under this bill, insurance companies take advantage of ‘fine print’ and ‘special clauses’ to increase their profits at the expense of the consumer.” End concluded, “This puts at risk the well-being of people who have purchased a product from these companies in good faith. This is not the way we should do business in Wisconsin.”
About the Wisconsin Association for Justice
The Wisconsin Association for Justice stands with consumers to promote a fair and effective justice system for every citizen.