Thursday, April 1, 2010

In$urance Follie$

Maryland's Legislative Democrats continue to wage war on the working poor on behalf of their trial lawyer benefactors in Annapolis, as the bill to raise minimum insurance premiums continues to work its way through the legislative process.

Lobbyist Minor Carter pretty much said the most relevant and succinct thing about this bill: "It's a tax upon the poor people of our state." Mainly because the customers most likely to be impacted by the bill are the drivers who are on MAIF, the state's insurerer of last resort:

The Maryland Automobile Insurance Fund, the state's provider of auto coverage for high-risk motorists who can't obtain it on the open market, said 98.6 percent of its customers would absorb the increase. According to MAIF, which opposes the bill, the change would require rate increases between 6.1 percent and 9.3 percent.
And it's being brought to you by Maryland's Democrats.

As we said before, this is all part of the O'Malley Administration's Christmas in April trial lawyer handout program, or as Senator EJ Pipkin called it "the Trial Lawyers Relief Act of 2010." It is completely inexcusable that these Democrats (and the nine Republicans in the House who voted for this bill) are trying to stick it to Maryland's working poor in this manner, and to benefit nobody by the trial lawyers lobby.

It's a shame, but entirely unsurprising, that Maryland's Democrats want to screw the poor in such an unscrupulous way...



Bruce said...

Your claim that Democrats want to "screw the poor" is without merit.

Reasonable people can disagree whether MD should increase its mandatory minimum coverage. But if you are in MAIF, it's generally because you have proven yourself such a miserable driver that Geico's Gecko won't touch you, so you are stuck going to Katz Insurance with his pom-pom girls or otherwise to sky-high MAIF.

When people get hit by underinsured drivers, they have to go against their comprehensive coverage for the difference, or eat the difference, i.e. pay hard now or pay later. PIP only goes so far. It's not so much about whether the poor will eat it, but rather whether it will be the bad-driving poor or their victims. Hospitals ultimately wind up eating the damage from uninsured patients hit by uninsured drivers.

Cars, medical expenses and wages are higher now than when 20K/40K was passed. It's reasonable to catch the mandatory minimums up to inflation. You don't want to be on state-subsidized MAIF? Learn to drive lawfully and safely; it's not that hard, since several million Marylanders do it all the time. Either that or catch the bus.

Brian Griffiths said...

So either way, what you're telling me is that your cool with the Democrats 1) not only taking advantage of the poor, but 2) using government to increase the costs of those people who have no better options.

When you consider the fact that the average payout of insurance claims is roughly $6,000, all this is are the Democrats screwing the poor and the disadvantage to give the trial lawyers what they want. End of story.

Paul said...

Sorry, I have to agree with Bruce on this one. MAIF is not an insurance company for the poor, but for drivers that have poor driving records, and can't get insurance anywhere else.

For those that can't afford MAIF's premiums, perhaps they should focus more on their driving skills. 36 months of a clean record, and the gecko will give you reasonable insurance premiums.

I am SURE that there are plenty of working poor that do not rely on MAIF, just like there are plenty of well to do lousy drivers that use MAIF.

Brian, I think your argument has merit only if you think the new minimums are totally unreasonable and provide no additional benefit to claimants. I don't know if that could be the case or not.