Group Says Wis. Rates Remain Steady Despite New Car Insurance Law

Rear of car with exhaust coming outDespite some industry representatives’ warnings that recent changes to Wisconsin auto insurance law would result in premium increases, a consumer group says rates among the top insurers in the state rose less than 1 percent in the past year. But industry representatives said that trend will change.

The state’s 2009-2011 budget contained significant revisions to the state’s car insurance regulations, making coverage a requirement for residents and instituting an increase in the required minimum levels of protection.

Supporters of the changes said old statutes didn’t take rising health care costs into account and that some car insurance companies weren’t doing their jobs properly regarding claims, according to WPR.

Opponents of the law said it would lead to rising insurance prices in the state. According to Citizen Action of Wisconsin — the group that produced the report — the legislation’s detractors predicted a 33 percent increase in prices for policies.

However, the consumer group reviewed rate increases filed by the largest 11 companies in the state with the Office of the Commissioner of Insurance, finding an average rate of increase somewhere between .2 percent and .87 percent.

Still, Andy Franken, president of the Wisconsin Insurance Alliance, said the costs will eventually rise and that it is too early to tell how the new requirements will affect premiums.

“Most of [the] provision went in last November,” Franken said. “People continue to have renewals under the new provisions, and the impact isn’t being felt across the state until it’s run a full year.”

The Badger State is one of the final states to enact mandatory coverage for drivers. According to WPR, there has been a push for more than 70 years to get the measure through. Rather than having it debated independently, the regulations were put into the budget proposal.

Now New Hampshire remains the only state that does not require auto insurance of its residents.

About Ben Zitney
Benjamin Zitney has been covering the auto insurance industry for the past 2.5 years. Before coming to Online Auto Insurance News, he produced an extensive company history of the 30-year-old California Joint Powers Insurance Authority and worked at the Cal State Long Beach Daily Forty-Niner as a reporter, copy editor and news editor.

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