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March 11, 2009

Oppose Senate File 321 - Trial Bar Proposal to Increase Cost of Automobile Insurance

Senate File 321 increases the cost of automobile insurance by allowing trial lawyers to evade the language of the policy to increase payouts.

Previous opposition to this flawed legislation caused the bill's sponsors to strip out some parts of the bill that would increase premium costs. While this is good news, we need to keep our efforts going as the bill is still bad public policy. Further, the trial bar will attempt to sneak those provisions back in later if it thinks we have let our defenses down.

SF 321 still allows stacking and bans step down provisions. It still increases the amount of UM and UIM coverage that must be purchased. The trial bar will say that the insurance consumer has the right to reject the coverage, but why make everyone go through the paperwork hassle?

NAMIC urges you to contact your state senator and let him/her know that SF 321 should be rejected. If you do not know who your state senator is, visit

The best way to contact your senator is by telephone. Because of spam, e-mails are often overlooked.

It is likely you will not immediately make contact when you call. Leave a message that you oppose SF 321 because it will increase the cost of automobile insurance. Do not forget to include your name and home address, so that your senator knows you are a constituent.

One way to bring this idea home is to point out that the cost of driving has skyrocketed in the past years. Now that citizens are getting a little bit of a breather, the trial bar wants to put those savings in its members' pockets.

Also, while these proposals do not directly affect farm mutuals, many mutual managers and directors are involved with automobile coverage and need to know about this legislation.

NAMIC will work closely on this issue with our state trade partners, the Iowa Insurance Institute and the Mutual Insurance Association of Iowa.

Direct questions to NAMIC State Affairs Manager Mark Johnston.