The Political Side of the Insurance Industry

JR Runkel - Fortner Insurance Agency, Inc.

On February 23, 2010, hundreds of insurance professionals descended on Springfield to take part in the annual Insurance Legislative Day. This annual event is a good reminder of the daily activity taking place in our capital that can have a huge impact on our businesses and personal insurance policies. This article will highlight some of the bills that are currently being debated in the House and Senate. A few could have an enormous economic impact on our state.

Non-Highway Vehicles (SB 3629)

  • Amends the Illinois Municipal Code and the Illinois Vehicle Code
  • Removes references to a neighborhood vehicle in the Illinois Vehicle Code
  • Consolidates provisions concerning the operation of low-speed vehicles and non-highway vehicles on streets into a single, new article in the Illinois Vehicle Code
  • Provides that it is unlawful for any person to operate a low-speed or non-highway vehicle upon any street in the state unless expressly authorized by a unit of local government
  • Provides that it is lawful for any person to drive or operate a low-speed vehicle upon any street that is located in the City of Chicago where the posted speed limit is 30 miles per hour or less unless the City or the Illinois Department of Transportation prohibit the activity
  • Provides that any person engaged in the retail sale of low-speed vehicles are required to comply with the motor vehicle dealer licensing, registration and bonding laws of the state
  • Provides that it is lawful for any person to drive or operate a non-highway or recreational off-highway vehicle on a county or township roadway for the purpose of conducting farming operations to and from the home, farm, farm buildings or any adjacent or nearby farmland
  • Effective immediately.    

Increase Minimum Liability Limits (HB 5046)

  • Amends the Illinois Vehicle Code
  • Increases the minimum mandatory coverage amounts for liability insurance policies in this state and increases the amounts sufficient to satisfy a judgment following a motor vehicle accident as follows: bodily injury or death to any one person from $20,000 to $60,000; bodily injury or death to more than one person from $40,000 to $120,000; and injury or destruction of property of others from $15,000 to $45,000.

Mandatory Arbitration (SB 2818)
Background. There currently exists a nationwide inter-company arbitration agreement signed by most standard automobile insurance companies for the settlement of automobile physical damages matters under $100,000. The department was approached by a major insurance company asking for assistance in automobile subrogation matters between it and non-standard automobile insurers in Illinois, most, if not all, of which are not members of the agreement. According to the company, the average claim settlement cycle time for claims with a non-standard carrier is 249 days, compared to 72 days for a standard carrier.

Proposal. The bill would require arbitration of automobile physical damage claims in accordance with the terms of the arbitration agreement, as adopted and, from time to time, amended by its members. It would also require every insurer licensed to issue automobile insurance to be a member of the agreement, or any successor.

As Americans, we are blessed to have a vote and a say in how our lives are affected by new legislation. As legislation is introduced, make sure you stay in contact with your representatives by phone, mail or personal contact. Many bills are affecting your life. Legislators are elected by you to serve you, but they cannot help you if you don’t help them by communicating your issues. Hopefully this has helped you have a better understanding of some of the issues facing the insurance industry that will ultimately affect you. iBi

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