INDIANAPOLIS (March 30, 2006)—The National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies (NAMIC) has joined a coalition of Illinois businesses and insurers that strongly oppose State Senate Bill 1911 after a negative trial lawyer amendment was adopted by the Illinois House of Representatives. The language in that amendment changes how medical expenses are awarded and would inflate the cost of every liability claim.
“The language on liability claims supported by the plaintiff attorneys does not codify existing practices in Illinois, but would be a dramatic change from current statutory and case law by awarding medical expenses on the amount billed rather than the amount actually paid,” said Tami Stanton, NAMIC’s state affairs manager, in letters to House members.
Stanton emphasized the bill is now “an enticement for endemic fraud and guarantees brutal increases in medical costs. The accompanying shock to the cost of insurance could be staggering. Under SB 1911, the medical provider receives no additional payment, but the plaintiff and the plaintiff’s attorney receive a windfall at the expense of other policyholders.”
On Tuesday, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Institute for Legal Reform released the 2006 edition of their annual survey on the best and worst states for legal fairness. Illinois was ranked near the bottom at 45, up only one place from last year’s ranking of 46. This annual study on state liability systems illustrates which ones have the legal climates that drive away businesses, jobs and economic development.
“If SB 1911, as now amended by the plaintiff bar, is allowed to pass, the state of Illinois may well reach the notorious ranking of 50 in the near future,” added Stanton.
The coalition, led by the Illinois Insurance Association, also includes the Illinois Retail Merchants Association, Illinois Manufacturers Association, Illinois State Chamber, Illinois Civil Justice League, Illinois State Medical Society, Illinois Hospital Association, Illinois Life Insurance Council, Independent Professional Insurance Agents of Illinois, American Insurance Association and Property Casualty Insurers Association of America.
NAMIC’s 169 member companies doing business in Illinois write 43 percent of the property/casualty market.
SB 1911 can be read on NAMIC’s website, NAMIC Online, at www.namic.org/pdf/sb1911.pdf
For further information, contact
Rick Nelson, APR, CAE
(317) 875-5250 Tel
(317) 879-8408 Fax