A state House committee approved a bill on Tuesday that would lower car insurance in Louisiana. After a heated, seven-hour debate yesterday, the bill now moves to the house floor for more debate.

At the heart of the bill is the fact that Louisianians pay about $2,200 per year to cover their vehicles, second only to Michigan.

Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon says the measure would cut rates by as much as 25 percent, however, not immediately.

The bill dubbed as the Omnibus Premium Reduction Act aims at discouraging lawsuits, primarily by putting more automobile accident cases in front of juries. It would also extend the amount of time a victim has to sue after a wreck, potentially leading to further negotiations that could lead to settlements.

The basic idea for the Republican-backed "tort reform" bill is to save insurance companies money by limiting lawsuits. The hope is that insurance companies would then pass the savings on to their customers.

“The average person in Louisiana pays twice as much as they should for car insurance,” Rep. Richard Nelson, R-Mandeville, said. “This omnibus bill looks at what every other state in the nation does differently... a corollary of average laws is average premiums."

If insurance companies do not lower their rates by at least 10 percent, this bill would require them to present evidence to Donelon that the rule change didn't save them money or that they cannot afford to cut rates.

A similar bill was introduced last year but didn't pass. The 2020 version of it is said to have a better chance at passing because the 2020 state legislature is viewed as Louisiana's most conservative ever.


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