By Charles Marshall/Opinion
Last week the Louisiana Senate Insurance Committee voted to kill several bills filed by local Senator Jay Luneau that were designed to reform car insurance and lower the amount we pay in premiums.
While most people think their insurance rates are based solely on their driving history, the reality is that insurance companies penalize people for a variety of reasons. One of Senator Luneau’s bills would have prohibited insurance companies from charging women more than men.
Insurance companies also charge what has been come to be known as the “Widow Penalty.” Some Insurance companies will raise rates on someone when their spouse passes away. Senator Luneau filed a bill to prevent insurers from charging a Widow Penalty.
Insurers also consider a person’s credit score when rating someone. Last year a study showed that a person with a DWI on their driving record but with good credit actually pays less than a person with a perfect driving record but bad credit. Senator Luneau’s 3rd bill would have prohibited the use of credit in the rating process.
The Senate Insurance Committee sided with the insurance industry and voted against all three bills. Local Senator Louie Bernard voted in favor of the bills that would have prohibited the Widow Penalty and discriminating against women. However, all three bills were opposed by the Louisiana Insurance Commissioner and the powerful insurance industry lobby.
The Committee did approve Senator Luneau’s final bill that prohibits insurers from charging military service members more after they return from being deployed oversees. Remarkably our Insurance Commissioner currently allows insurers to penalize the young men and women of the military who defend our country oversees. The bill now moves to the Senate floor for consideration by the full Senate.
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