WWL>Topics>>Open Mind 3:10pm, In House Guest

Open Mind 3:10pm, In House Guest

Mar 21, 2014|

Are so called “ambulance chasers” responsible for New Orleans high auto insurance rates? Or, do insurance defense attorneys thrive here, because we have bad drivers? New Orleans and Baton Rouge drivers pay some of the highest auto insurance rates in the country. Steve DeBosier (Litigation partner with Dudley DeBosier) & Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon says “ambulance chasers” are to blame. He recommends lowering the amount for pain and suffering for uninsured drivers and an overhaul of tort reform. Whose side are you on—the commish or the defense attorneys? How high is your auto insurance? Also, if you insure a driver under 25, how much is their rate?

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Automatically Generated Transcript (may not be 100% accurate)

Fund Friday thus far and it's still going to be fun but we're a little more serious were gonna talk about the subject that we have kind of touched on before but we're really gonna delve into it. Do you know that if you live and Orleans parish and drive the car. You may well pay 40% more for car insurance than most other areas of the country. Do you know why. -- state insurance commissioner Jim O'Donnell and says he has a very good idea and it's about lawsuits. And here to talk about this and offer some suggestions on how this might change is our Louisiana insurance commissioner. Jim O'Donnell and I am for ever grateful every time you come in here. Oh. At the way to spend Friday. Well this is a very I think it's a very important discussion. And I've said this before and I don't mean to sound whining. But a woman my ancient I mean I'm not a twenty year old male a woman my age who drives sort of a regular car who has a perfect driving record. It is an abomination and I'm paying over 2000 dollars. -- drawn out and so I think a lot of people out there and please everyone feel really comfortable calling 2601870. Certainly Jim Donald wants to occupants were also going to have another special guest joining us shortly. And that is Stephen devote your. Who is not litigation partner with -- the closure and he has perhaps some different thoughts on honest but let's get to the issue. Of what we are paying in Orleans parish and I understand also Baton Rouge has very high rates. Well actually Baton Rouge frankly is not as out of step with the rest of the state as Orleans Saint Bernard. Jefferson and -- commend all okay how out of step are. 40% as you just mentioned is what my chief actuary who did a study. Of and ensure a major national insurance whom shall go on name for confidentiality purposes. Issuing a minimum limits policy which is the most common policy in our state in that 40%. Of the drivers. On stood on the streets and highways in Louisiana. Have only minimum limits coverage in place -- 12% maybe fourteen. Drive uninsured. Meaning the combination of those two the majority of the drivers. Do not consider themselves to have enough assets. To necessitate them protecting those assets by having more than -- minimum limits fifteen. 25153025000. Coverages. In place to protect all the folks from their negligence. Yeah and it with that means is -- year old it's up to you in your uninsured. And underinsured coverage to protect yourself. From the negligence of those 52 to 54% of the drivers. My chief actuary took a typical policy. For a driver with the safe. That the cost the average cost by parish. Of that limit those limits with no extraordinary. Issues factored in like VW it's a multiple accidents. And found that the most expensive parish only four. Out of sync from the state one average by more than 10%. Alt or dale. Those four war Orleans. 40% higher than the statewide average. Saint Bernard 30% higher than the statewide average. Jefferson 18%. And plaque -- 15%. No one else was more than 10% operative. The other sixty parishes. War within the statewide average by. 10% most almost all within by 5% I don't have the list in front of me I evident. And at my office. This would it says is. All or drivers in the metropolitan area and now that's a million folks in is a quarter of us State's population. Are paying way out of -- Sorts the -- for their automobile insurance and our rates nationally. Or. Second most expensive in the fifty states in the most recent rating listing. From the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. We. Finally moved off the most expensive. Category 22 to New Jersey. And it's not been because of breeding -- over the past ten years and I took over about six years ago. When the old rating commission was done away with -- their last four years they raise rates less than one and 1% per year. My first four years I also raised rates less than 1% a year. Nationally rates started to trend upward. For the first time in a decade and went up two and a half percent. A U2 years ago. And four and a half percent last year. But over a ten year period of time less than 1% for eight years two and a half percent and four and a half percent. But the experience in these these rates are based on. Company's loss experienced. By whatever room regional. Categorization they they use most used zip code some use parish. In other Jews inch should insure. Insurance districts their own districts taking. Combined some zip codes or however they choose to do it but most use the zip codes and all -- Parachutes and and the result is as I described the minute ago. The bottom line news with the exact which is -- Orleans 40% higher Saint Bernard 30% Jefferson eighteen and plaque -- 15%. We -- gonna take a quick break in a moment and we're going to bring in Stephen composure but I would like for you to. Give us your reason. No you know what let's take the break and then we're gonna come naturally we're gonna talk about why you think we're -- hottest thing. Be happy to score well are subject of the very high car insurance rates in Orleans parish and in saint Bernard parish 40% higher in Orleans. 30% in Saint Bernard 18%. Jefferson and fifteen -- went. Higher than our statewide average and we have state insurance commissioner Jim O'Donnell in with us. Who feels very strongly about this and has a very strong opinion on why it's so extraordinarily time. And also with this and I do not -- forget this man Steve devote your who was a litigating partner with Dudley devotion and sir we are definitely getting to you but. Let -- start back with Jim O'Donnell and so you've laid out that we are extraordinarily high second highest in the United States we -- and not just in the state. But why. In my opinion in a basis on what I'm told by. Frankly filming -- Briggs who is the president and CEO of Louisiana -- bureau insurance company. They company that's part of a force state entity. That. Those auto insurance in Louisiana and Arkansas. And Colorado. And Mississippi and it may be a fifth state -- they may be in South Carolina think they are they or in South Carolina. And his company that combination of companies. Has. The the statistic he gave me was that Louisiana has 17%. Of the policies that those five states in that group have in 52%. Of the lawsuits that those. That that company has in all of those five states three times -- or just proportionate share. And in. That's what I have always been. Led to believe is the driver for our extraordinary. In each auto insurance cost in this area that we have -- loss to litigation OK and yes it is you have said before you called it -- I'll never forget it soft tissue issues yes. And do you mean by that I mean that there is a a group of folks and it's not just lawyers but certainly it is a lawyer involved and reached each instance. That with a minor fender Bender accident turns into a maximum 151000 dollars or more. Recovery for the folks that are the victims of that miners fender Bender accident. It's not fraud in the sense of staging accidents or stealing automobiles. But I have been accused -- composure has suggested that I should spend taxpayer dollars. Telling folks not to text and drive a mall for that on not too. Talk on cell phones and drive all of those safety issues or very legitimate. But it's also a fact that we as with many other states. Have a propensity. Our folks have a propensity. When -- or involved in an accident to exaggerate the amount of damage that they have incurred in particular. In the area of soft tissue injury injury. Which is impossible to document or to prove it's not like -- ruptured disk or broken bones. It's my -- my neck hurts and and I I can't. Do this I can't go there have got to go to the doctor after -- the physical therapist at several. And for the length of time that you go the long do you go and in seeking get treatment. The more your recovery up to in 40% of our cases. That 50000 dollar maximum limit that the minimum limit that the law requires folks to have in place OKMR devote share. Thank you very much for joining us as well and you've been listening to what Jim O'Donnell and sang I just want to know your thoughts. I'll thank you appreciate the town it's happening in Angela GM Mike Huckabee and your. You know not talk about it last week in them every opportunity to do it on shadow. And what I've discussed with him and he just talked about farm bureau in all the different states but where they sell insurance. And that we have so many law -- in the Louisiana. What these -- the -- But lawsuits in Louisiana and -- going down every year for the past four years. But the reason we have them advocate to all those other states were farm -- selling insurance. Is that they have two years three years in forty years. Do bring your point in the -- we can't we have one here. So if you build one here and you have a claim to make you have to outlaw -- -- you lose your right. So my suggestion was. Well it could be like all these other states with a little -- to two years or four years. To bring those points and then that would -- a number of students would greatly go down in the call upon litigation. -- greatly due out it would be to the benefit of these insurance companies. Award about the law. Mr. closure and I did discuss this field today and and I'm happy to have this opportunity to continue that discussion with them. And I pointed out to him that as far back as my nineteen years in the state legislature before right. Moved to the department back in in -- to put in in 2001. -- chief deputy for six years and now as commissioner for the past state. That bill was introduced each year with the argument that he just put forth that -- or shortest in America. Prescription period of one year does necessitate. Attorneys filing lawsuits. In order to cut off their the prescription that would make the written them in their client lose the right to bring that litigation. And that's looked upon in the halls of the legislature at least as a double edged sword. Businesses not just insurance companies but all businesses. That tried to do what's labeled in the legislative business -- reform. Look upon this as something that may help yes if you extend the prescription period -- cut down on the number of lawsuits it is believed. By virtue of the fact that the deadline wouldn't be threatening looming and forcing folks to run to the courthouse quicker. Which should also generate more lawsuits. That a year and a half later would say you know what may -- I did get hurt in that accident. I'll I'll fondle lawyer in and go to the the court system and pursue a claim. And in the business ranks -- there's a division and in the the trouble or is very much for I think ago. You would find you the minute -- in the trial -- for extending for the prescription period one YouTube and frankly. I was I've frankly all ordered the prescription period. Four following the homeowners calling. From one year to two years and the legislature followed up with legislation that made it now two years. To follow homeowners and I did it after Katrina because there was such a clutter of claims. And adjusters back crawled in contractors etc. And we still have. To your prescription period on that level but it's so it's a legitimate point that he raises in an issue that. Has been brought up many many times in the legislative process but never reached consensus or even majority. Let me ask mr. devote your aunt and certainly you Jim Donald as well since lawyers have been able to advertise. There has been criticism that it eggs people all odds of the very ads themselves have sort of change the dynamics. Of people who might or might not have sued before. And I just like your thoughts on that mr. Mosher. Certainly I think what we've allowed people to do now is to have access and information. As to what lowers Indian. 1018 years ago people couldn't get on the Internet as well they can now it's our information. About who does a good job and who doesn't. And so everybody -- this one the biggest ever partners in the state of Louisiana or insurance companies. The good hands people state farm listen these peacekeeping issue all along these commercial what these guys. Are are begging for Louisiana people the -- -- It clear in making a ton of money so why isn't it possible bird that people are getting injured Miller -- it into a good job boredom. Up in these big companies and so level. 22 things if Monday and frankly I've been around long enough that I remember when. The bar association didn't allow those ads and in fact even. Ordered a fee schedule. And regulated the fees that you could you can charge is a lawyer. Frankly the US Supreme Court put in and all of that and said. Constitutionally protected speech. Lawyers can advertise. The state bar has put some limitations on what you can and cannot say in an -- But it is regulated as much as we can and number two. It's no different here than -- any of the other 49 site has. We're gonna have to take another break and into the newsroom but were we come back we do have some callers in the U. And I appreciate all of you and I hope you'll stay on. As we continued to talk about our insurance rates and why they're so high now let's go to the newsroom and on names were talking about excessive car insurance rates primarily in Orleans parish but not exclusively there. Some of the highest in the nation. Our state insurance commissioner Jim O'Donnell and -- -- against -- as is Steve devotion who was a litigation partner was Dudley devote your. Taking a different look at things and we also have callers and I appreciate you all. Holding on I want -- Michelle Eddie and blamed all stay with us let's start with rob. Yeah are you done today -- You -- yup and about Santana -- assurance that went out that things happen that the state or. And a month of February. As any kind of contact while I -- commission offices operate today it's not election time yet. I'll put out -- -- on the that the that the no I didn't say it will handle it. Back. To eat the -- People all the. But he's also taken it out state farm is that record profits last year. Now objected Kampman take it rates and bring him down on the American money what is your -- to -- nation's oil prices. My serve and it's -- -- -- fifty -- though one out there and have that. I think apple netbook into that it is great. The war. People I was not elected. I can't believe he would even say that but I understand your frustration believe me I'm not happy about. Clinton's probably becoming. -- out so appealing it. Or OK thank you very much let's go to Michelle. We're good night. I have a question ancient mystic had a very bad experience. This past year. And as a result our car insurance went up. Over a thousand -- of the year I was in a parking space. And but got back up at camp and the highest TV it was a little Tony Clark I mean I literally lifted off the break in -- -- -- So I got -- as an old story this is. -- -- Did not get my car didn't scratch it should pay his vehicle besides -- -- turning. Me missing. Actually as I will be glad -- insurance information that you can't play that now. I did you know I'd like -- storytelling and well about two months later I mean I didn't hear anything injured progressive. Didn't hear anything in the insurance company. I'm even -- you know that her like is that the lead didn't even against the need to vehicle. Can't do it -- email they take this kind of its 3000 dollars. From bodily injury. And I was never notified -- call me straight -- and -- with the adjuster. Can't hold -- -- he it will allow. We can't. Get it under I think it's a thousand dollars. They don't have to provide any medical claims he was her -- the war. They don't have to provide medical documentation. Or anything. Is that true answer right -- gosh it's true company by company and most companies the lady is correct would handle that justice. -- adjuster did. In the interest of not spending more than 3000 dollars litigating the if it went to court. So they would rather just pay attention and. You know -- -- -- -- well it's not prone to back to him. What is fraudulent well eligible if he runs. Let let let me let me limited which which you mean I think what you mean by fraudulent is he wasn't hurt. And -- plenty. Portion of what they -- it was from the I want you understanding that they would have to take the flight. I'm listening to -- care was front left. -- on her insurance is gonna go a lot because of this is no doubt about that and and I do a lot of advertising about insurance fraud and I've learned through the look -- if -- Louisiana auto theft in the insurance fraud prevention authority. That I received for the legislature along with state police with two dozen. State troopers who wore. Paid by the by this assessment. To investigate insurance fraud in what the attorney general that prosecutes those cases. We investigate them. I've learned that the cost for family in Louisiana of insurance fraud quote unquote the second most common. Crime in America behind tax fraud. That and the cost is 900 dollars per year per family. In -- in inflated cost of insurance because of situations just like the lady just the. Let me ask and we would support that we we absolutely one million ginger and that is who won the worst thing that we have to deal with our business and our state. We want insurance. And a meat eating and it yeah yeah. A minister to -- let me ask you than listening to that woman in if she had called -- and said I think. I've been ripped off -- his mind church is gonna go up how would you handle that it. Unfortunately there's no mechanism in state Louisiana and laws to address the problem -- she. Other than through Jim Talent and -- these guys charging to much. From my insurance rates. That was going on these guys these companies are making tons and tons of money connect and are not pets and their savings down to the policy holders. But mr. closure -- in in in your parish of which you you live in these batteries don't -- It in your parish on the study that I was referring to earlier where where Orleans -- 41 point 3% a blow. The state one average east Baton Rouge a very urban community very much. Like Orleans parish is two point 7% below the state on average cat though. We're where again Shreveport very urban very much like Orleans those smaller. Is ten point 4%. Below the state plot that image that. And Jimmie are you were part of the amount that the insurance companies chart before the premium they're charging yes it is based upon which is this -- -- -- station -- you're making dates to allow them art. -- percent more. I make a net patient column connected -- DePaul and balance making that the. Based upon their loss experience going back three to five years. By zip code in those parishes so but he sang you're the one ultimately gives it yet but because they're losing money in that area fight -- them you can't charge what the actuarial filing just supplies in Orleans then I'm making the person in Lafayette. Or in Shreveport. Pay -- with the losses are in Orleans or Saint Bernard. Air shall and we will -- what does all of our callers mr. devotion stay with this will be right back time goes so quickly when you're having a good time and we are and we are talking about insurance rates. And we're with that these state commissioner Jim O'Donnell -- and was Steve disclosure who has a lure you with deadly to Mosher and a wonderful callers hang with this. Mr. Bush wanted to ask what percentage roughly. Are are settled what cases are -- as this woman just called it was subtle before she -- -- it. You know have the exact statistics the -- data entry in my office. Somewhere around ninety that 97% claimed to resolve. But settlement now been resolved foresee -- and filed if that happened with the net short one year time frame. But they're not a big enemies -- -- suit filed in the matter back a lot of interest them and ask me what court to file a lawsuit. And the issues. Don't do anything on this thing too because people didn't work out which at he quickly. And them when they're filed I mean when -- settles like that is it for. Is for what. That is Robert we were talking earlier about there is a 50000 dollar limit for you get a jury trial -- talking under that amount. Well no -- mean we we settle clean anywhere from. Top 101000 dollars several million -- -- it just depends on the injuries in the number of people involved in the you know facts of the of the incident. That are questioned. Them past the answer but there is probably. Half and according to settle for if you don't know Latin that is true. OK let's go to the caller real quick and we're gonna take these very very short so. David tell me your story. Then my arm my question analysts and interest commissioner is. How do that he can explain to go to the population is how do -- number of traffic citations. -- issued in particular are a spectacular. Actuarial rates in the insurance premiums. And -- it will less traffic moving violations written in particular are -- -- very. I -- frankly I think it's just the opposite. I think the more moving violations they'll war issued and parish. The better the law enforcement control of traffic would be I don't think there's any effect on. Rates based on the number of traffic tickets or what red light tickets issued by parish. What there definitely is is the effect on the individual. Based on the air traffic record in a lot of those. Tickets like the -- red light speeding tickets don't count. They then that you pay a fine and it doesn't go on your record. But if you do have multiple. Ticket yourself that all are on your record and frankly there are. Two sets of books the the set that that may or made available to the public enough they afford the insurance companies. And the other set where you get a diversionary program Rory it doesn't go -- your record because of this that -- -- most. The most of the price that I'm wind apparently is gonna pay for insurance. Is based on that zip code or whatever -- experience in that -- in that zip -- exacerbated by your personal correct age or driving record horse. Good good good grades for a young driver. Get our earned a discount with most companies OK let's go to another caller Jeff. Hello Jeff. Yes very quick -- I'll have a question for the insurance commissioner how much money at the excepted from -- -- -- in campaign contributions. Have no idea but it's all about that. It's I -- I -- answered questions. Being entered from me. Well and I don't know what million dollars he's talking about but. I have 250000. On the in my account that I have raised over the past two years from -- reelection campaign. Today and it. Public records made public probably gotten all of the all of a sudden it just popped them yet yet nor ideas separate opened. No no no no no sir I sit I have 250000. Total. In my campaign account. I'm thirty now and you go -- a migrant parents -- that insurance commissioners or the worst politician there. Well don't tell everybody in the same basket thank you think that although very quickly Eddie and Jefferson Parish. -- I have to deal lucky person on the radio. I went with a bigger company in my insurance premium in my automobile went down under twenty now LaMont. That's significant and it's available. It's available by shopping and know what yeah. Our stay with -- Wayne and Richard will be right back. Well it has been a very interesting -- it has been a very interesting are one thing Jim Dolan and I want to thank Steve devotion I think we could go hours and hours on the subject. I truly appreciate your time and your your insights into -- sentinel we've resolved anything but it's the discussion that needs to be had. We do have our callers and Jim O'Donnell -- is going to talk to you after the show if you're calling about any question for him. I do appreciate always but mr. -- thank you we'll have you back again. -- thank you appreciate it salmon and people in the gym trying to be the right thing to get these insurance rates down. Think it would the public and support amendment could be right down albeit batters state. Thank Steve thank you very very much and thank you Jim O'Donnell -- and caller stay on and everybody have a good weekend.