Lowering auto insurance costs through wisconsin’s law raises many questions


shutterstock_28927390Opponents of the new law as well as experts from the insurance industry have questioned the new Wisconsin law, which was essentially aimed at lowering auto insurance premiums by doing away with the coverage requirements. The opponents claim that the changes that were brought about in 2009 have caused a rise in the auto insurance rates instead of bringing it down.

It is difficult to simply look at some legislation and try to understand the changes that it can bring about, stated Steve Witmer, spokesman, American Family Insurance, one of the major insurers in Wisconsin. The 2009 legislation that was signed by Jim Doyle in 2009 would be erased as per the new law. That legislation had boosted the minimum coverage standards from 1982.

The law had doubled the liability coverage for bodily injury to a minimum of $50,000 per individual, and $100,000 if there are more people involved. It also raised the minimum property damage by 50% and brought it up to $15,000.

Governor Scott Walker argued that these rules had resulted in a rise in insurance costs especially among the low and middle income motorists who could only afford the minimum coverage. Hence Governor Scott Walker signed a law on April 12th bringing the minimums back to the pre-2010 levels.

Repealing this law was going to do a whole lot of good for the middle-class Wisconsinites as well as small businesses, he stated. He added that he was proud to sign the repeal and replacement of the law.

However, experts are unclear about how much the premiums may have gone up as per the current rules. It would also be difficult to arrive at just how much the costs could come down.

Witmer from the American Family Insurance stated that some of these changes were difficult to shake off and that it would take a while to really feel the impact. In fact, he was not even sure if at all they had actually felt the full impact of the changes brought about in 2009.

Andrew Franken, President, Wisconsin Insurance Alliance was quoted as saying that there were no hard numbers but anecdotally, the costs had gone up by as much as 20% to 30%, but it was very early to tell.

Even Robert Kraig from Citizen Action of Wisconsin, which is a left-leaning collective that had opposed this repeal, seemed to dispute claims that there was a substantial rise in the cost of auto insurance.