Mississippi Governor Says No to Insurance Verification System

Mississippi 2007 uninsured rateA push to combat the state’s high uninsured-motorist rate came to a halt Wednesday when Gov. Haley Barbour announced that he was vetoing legislation that would have set up a state-run database to help identify drivers who lack proper auto insurance coverage.

Barbour wrote in his veto message that, while he supports the idea of a verification system, there has been insubstantial analysis of the costs of maintaining the system and that the July 2011 effective date did not allow enough time for a such an assessment. He said it is currently unclear whether the fines generated through the system would be enough to cover its operational costs.

In addition, he says the bill required the Department of Public Safety (DPS) to perform tasks beyond its scope of responsibility. The legislature-approved bill specified that the DPS would target the owners of vehicles that appeared to be insured. Barbour wrote that the DPS should be charged with citing vehicle operators — not owners — who violate the state’s insurance law.

Barbour said he would consider approving a bill in the special session that includes resolutions to these issues.

The bill passed with overwhelming majorities in both houses of the legislature (49-0 in the Senate and 115-7 in the House).

The House has already allowed the governor’s veto to stand.

A similar measure to identify violators of Alabama car insurance law is circulating in that state. It is so far unclear whether similar problems exist in that bill.

Mississippi has been estimated to have the second-highest uninsured rate in the nation.

About Matthew Morisset
Matthew Morisset is a proud alumnus of the University of Redlands, where he obtained a degree in English Literature. Utilizing his passion for analysis and writing, Matthew looks for important trends in the auto insurance industry and their implications for consumers and the market as a whole.

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