The Louisiana House of Representatives recently approved a bill which many business interest groups hope will bring lower auto insurance rates to the Pelican State.
According to Watchdog.com, H.B. 372, whose sponsored is Rep. Kirk Talbot (R-River Ridge) was approved on April 23 and is ideally poised to bring about a great deal of positive change and reforms that may make owning a car more affordable for residents
Currently, Louisiana is the second-most expensive state for auto insurance policies and many groups believe that the reason for the high rates is mainly linked to certain allowances that have been permitted up until now.
H.B. 372 will bring four massive changes to the ways in which lawsuits are filed and the allowances in their filings.
Firstly, the bill will be lowering the state’s threshold for a civil jury trial from its current price point of $50,000 — the highest in the country — to $5,000, making it more affordable for the average individual to seek out justice in court.
Secondly, plaintiffs will no longer be able to directly sue insurance companies. This type of action often comes with a massive payout attached to it as insurance companies have practically limitless funds which jackpot-seeking plaintiffs may abuse.
Thirdly, the time limit in which an individual may file a lawsuit will be lengthened from one year to two years. This will give more time and opportunity to negotiate and bargain for both plaintiffs and defendants.
Finally, the bill allows judges and juries to review a plaintiff’s medical costs, which will open up discussion and opportunity for reform in an area that was up until recently untouchable.
Marie Centanni, executive director of the Louisiana Free Enterprise Institute, commented on the reform which her group is thrilled about.
“This landmark legislation links much-needed legal reform with mandatory auto insurance rate reviews,” Centanni told Louisiana Record. “HB 372 makes common-sense changes to specific areas of law that have been identified as factors driving up the cost of litigation in Louisiana, driving our auto insurance rates sky high. We can't afford to protect the status quo any longer.”