Monday, August 18, 2008

Auto Insurance Rates Are Increasing.....I Thought Tort Reform Was Supposed To Fix This?

Well, it took a few years, but now it appears that the big lie has been proven. In 2005, The Ohio Legislature passed massive "tort reform." Translation: your right to recover against drunk drivers, manufacturers of tainted food products, and other wrongdoers is now capped at arbitrary, "one size fits all" limits. The hook? "Legal reform" was PROMISED to improve Ohio's economy, create jobs, keep businesses in Ohio, and bring down insurance rates. Here's what Former Governor Taft (15% approval rating) said about this law:

"The legislature has been debating this important issue for months, and I am pleased that they passed a bill that will help improve the business climate and create jobs in Ohio."

And here's what the Vice President for the Midwest region of The American Insurance Association had to say about the bill:

"Ohio's new common sense tort reform measures will help make the state an even more attractive place for insurers to do business by creating a more stable, equitable and predictable legal system."

Well, here we are in 2008. Ohio's economy is in the tank. We've lost over 200,000 jobs in just the last few years. And now this news from The Ohio Department Of Insurance: auto insurance AND homeowners insurance rates will rise in 2008. In fact, auto rates in Ohio have risen 4.8% in the first quarter of 2008 according to this insurance report. (in fairness, auto rates declined by 2.7% in 2007 but homeowners rates had increased during this time).

So what's the upshot? Despite all the promises of "creating jobs," "improving our economy," and lowering insurance rates, tort reform hasn't done a darned thing to improve Ohio, or your pocketbook. The only thing it did do is take away your legal rights to hold wrongdoers accountable if you are seriously injured, and strip away your 7th Amendment constitutional right to trial by jury.

What a wonderful concept: limit what you can recover from drunk drivers and unscrupulous businesses, and convince you that it's good for you and your family! So where's the jobs? Where's your savings from all this reform? Are your auto or homeowners rates going down? Are your health insurance premiums falling as well? Has tort reform freed your pocketbook?

Didn't think so. The only thing it has done has improved the bottom line of insurance comapnies, who are turning around and raising your rates anyway! And if you need any more proof, here's the final nail of this fraud: there are no limits or caps on what businesses can recover when they sue each other. It only applies to you, the injured person.

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