Bill in the works in Iowa to protect auto insurance rates from ‘extraordinary events’
Iowan lawmakers are discussing a bill that would come to the aid of residents who discover that their insurance rates have spiked due to ‘having a personal financial crisis’
Story City Democrat Rich Olive, who is also an insurance agent, said that many families have been adversely affected by the recession, and many falling victim to unemployment. Olive said that it is during these dire times that insurance companies and several financial institutions investigate their clients’ credit scores. Insurers are most likely to increase their rates for automobile and home coverage.
The bill aims to provide assistance for Iowans whose credit scores were negatively affected due to an ‘extraordinary event’ in their lives. If the bill gets passed into a law, residents who fulfill certain conditions have three months to provide paper work and documentation to prove to their insurance company that they have been affected by an ‘extraordinary event.’ The insurer will be compelled to lower their auto and home rates back to levels prior to the occurrence of the event.
Olive explained that the initiative is a step forward in consumer protection. The insurance lobby has ceded support to the bill and it may be unanimously voted upon through bipartisan support in the Senate Commerce Committee, according to Olive.
Meanwhile, the state has recently revived a proposal to make wearing seatbelts mandatory for anyone 18 years and below, no matter where they are seated.
State law compels passengers to wear seatbelts for all front seat occupants, while those who are 10 years old and above are required to wear seatbelts.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety said that Mississippi, on the other hand, allows children older than 7 years old in the back seat to ride unbelted.
The proposed bill penalizes drivers as committing a simple misdemeanor subject to a fine of $25 if he/she does not make sure that passengers younger than 18 years old are buckled. However, only children on a motorcycle or a school bus would be exempted.
Fort Dodge Democrat Sen. Daryl Beall explained that the primary intention of the bill is to save lives.
Iowa State Transportation Department statistics reveal, between 2004 to 2007 that a total of 71 children were not wearing seatbelts when they lost their lives in road mishaps. Of the 71 children, 85% were in the range of ages 11 to 17, while 15% of the figure reported was either newborn or they were 10 years old and younger.
During the same time frame, 1,823 unbuckled youths newborn to 17 years of age suffered injuries as a result of road accidents.