The April 6 Edition of BestWeek ran a story, Insurers Have Faith in ‘Bad Faith’ Victories, which indicates insurance companies are winning the legislative battle against consumer protection statutes. The story notes that the insurance industry’s lobbying propaganda claims that consumer protection statutes make insurance more costly at a time when people can least afford it.
But how affordable is "cheap insurance" that does not pay or pay on time?
Insurers are using the premiums paid by their customers to sponsor pro-insurance industry laws that do not hold insurers accountable when they wrongly delay or deny payments. The same premiums pay for lobbyists to do everything they can to defeat proposed legislation that provides meaningful remedies to customers who have been harmed by an insurer’s shoddy claims practices.
Last year, Washington passed laws that made it unlawful for insurers to "unreasonably" deny insurance claims, and allows treble damages when an insurer does so. The Washington Insurance Commissioner stated "the law is encouraging insurers to be more responsible."
What those insurers want are consumer protection laws with no teeth. They want illusory laws that mandate "good faith" claims handling without meaningful accountability. That type of law would be akin to prohibiting murder, but not giving the police the power to make an arrest.
Honest insurers and those that act in good faith should have no problem with strong consumer protection laws. Those companies already play by the rules. The only reason insurers would lobby against strong consumer protection laws is because they want to cheat their customers. This forces otherwise good and honest carriers into dishonest practices so they can compete. A legal system that fails to hold entities and people accountable for breaking rules is tantamount to a society without rules.