House Bill 372

Baton Rouge lawyer Robert Kleinpeter testifies Monday, April 15, 2019, against House Bill 372, which limits lawsuits resulting from car wrecks as a way to lower auto insurance premiums.

I want to thank The Advocate for its recent editorial which referred to Louisiana as being ranked “second in the nation in car insurance rates.” That is not exactly an enviable position for Louisiana.

The average citizen in Louisiana pays considerably more for car insurance than does the average citizen of 48 other states. Self-interested lawyers spend millions to convince Louisianans of the ease in which they can rake in hundreds of thousands of dollars through suing those “wealthy” insurance companies.

Lawyers’ advertising is four-pronged, targeting potential clients through radio, newspapers, television and huge highway billboards. As The Advocate’s own James Gill pointed out in a recent editorial, 17 percent of the dollars paid for large billboards in Louisiana are paid by those same lawyers. Whatever the exact story, there is no question that car and auto insurance premiums must come down. This would leave more money in the average Louisiana residents’ pockets to spend on much-needed items for themselves, and would be a big boon for the Louisiana economy. The Legislature must take a stand, do the right thing, and “untangle the legal system that gives incentives for insurers to settle cases, instead of fighting them out in court.” The cost of these settlements is then passed on to consumers in the form higher and higher premiums. Forty-eight states have car insurance rates much lower than Louisiana’s rates. The Legislature needs to begin implementing new laws to make car insurance fair and reasonable for the citizens of Louisiana.

William Nile Stadler

retired Texaco manager