The industry in the state has been brought to the level of feuding as an old battle is brought back in the light.
The internal battle among the auto insurance companies in North Carolina over the ways in which the rates are regulated by the state is back, once again, for a few more rounds in the back rooms and hallways of the legislature.
Though the effort to recreate the state regulatory system was lost this spring, its supporters haven’t given up.
A coalition of auto insurance companies, FAIR NC, was not able to achieve the passage of a bill that would have reformed the regulatory system in the state, but it intends to keep trying. The coalition – which currently includes insurers such as Allstate, State Farm, and Geico – is now working to amend a bill that had previously been without controversy and that had previously received the unanimous approval of the Senate.
The introduction of the new auto insurance amendment to the bill has added considerable controversy.
Should SB180 pass, it would make it easier for individual auto insurance companies to be able to offer drivers various special discount programs in the state. The proposed amendment – which currently sits before the House Commerce Committee – has been strongly and openly opposed by Nationwide Insurance. It is that insurer, along with Commissioner Wayne Goodwin, that has led the protests against the bill.
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Furthermore, Goodwin and Nationwide have also complained that FAIR NC is providing legislators with information that identifies the proposal as a form of “compromise” which “includes proposals supported by the Insurance Commissioner and Nationwide.” However, Goodwin stated that “I’m at best puzzled,” and that “I’m at worst angry in that the proposed amendment purports to be a compromise that I signed off on.”
A Nationwide lobbyist, Susan Valauri, issued a letter of complaint to the House Commerce Committee members in order to point out that implying that the auto insurance bill is a compromise suggests “negotiation between parties. That has not occurred.” She also pointed out that it is not correct to state that Nationwide is in support of the amendment’s proposals.