BATON ROUGE — Louisiana residents will be seeing an increase in car insurance rates this year.

The Louisiana Department of Insurance has approved a rate hike, with increases as high as 22 percent. How much the increase is depends on where customers live and the insurer; people living in metro areas can expect to pay the most.

Louisiana already has the second highest insurance rates in the U.S., according to The Advocate.

Louisiana Commissioner of Insurance Jim Donelon has said that lawsuit abuse is a major cause of the high rates in the state, according to a column in The Advocate.

The executive vice president of the Professional Insurance Agents of Louisiana agrees.

“Yes, we do feel lawsuit abuse is one of the important factors in the high costs of auto insurance. We have for some time now supported tort reform legislative efforts, but unfortunately, most of those that are in line with other states who have lower costs of auto insurance have failed to pass,” Jody Boudreaux told the Louisiana Record.

“One way in which we're addressing this issue is our association is implementing a grassroots effort that goes beyond our agency membership to consumers of insurance on a bill that will be introduced on distracted driving this regular Session, which we feel is another important factor of high costs of auto insurance," Boudreaux said.

Boudreaux said the organization has tried to educate the public about the need for tort reforms.

“We know consumers are looking for solutions to this problem and feel they will be motivated to respond," she said.

Boudreaux added Professional Insurance Agents of Louisiana has been advising members to invest in dashboard cameras.

“We know of cases that have shown that having a camera such as this can prevent some of these fraudulent cases from going much further than the initial filing, and either way offer a great defense in such instances,” she said.

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