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LA bill cutting car insurance rates clears initial hurdle in House

Louisiana House Bill 372 recently gained approval in the state House of Representatives, and with relative ease. The would-be legislation that focuses on cutting auto insurance premiums for state drivers essentially sailed through the chamber on a 69-30 tally. Next stop: the Louisiana Senate.

As noted in a recent media overview of the bill and its particulars, HB 372 commands broad support from a number of diverse backers. Those centrally include Louisiana business groups, the insurance industry and state Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon. The cited article stresses that Donelon “has pursued [similar] legislation for years.”

Here’s why: Louisiana’s auto insurance rates are comparatively high. In fact, they are the second highest of any state in the country.

Myriad factors are pointed to as being responsible for that unenviable reality, though Donelon points his finger at a select few premium-spiking catalysts. Distracted driving is reportedly an outsized problem across the state, with inattentive motorists directly contributing to legions of crashes. Especially cheap gas prices in Louisiana have both figurately and literally fueled sharp increases in motorists clogging roadways spanning the state. And collision-linked repairs are flatly pricey.

All those factors sorely challenge insurers trying to keep the lid on rates. The expressed hope of HR 372 supporters is that the cost savings to insurers from the bill’s price-slashing provisions will be passed along to policyholders.

That is what insurance companies apparently want to do. State Farm, which reportedly insurers about one million people in Louisiana, has cut its premium rates on several occasions within the past year.

Louisiana Association of Business and Industry chief Stephen Waguespack calls the legislation “the most important bill of the Legislative session.”

We will track its progress for readers.

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