About Georgia Insurance Laws, Health Insurance and Regulations…
The Georgia insurance industry has faced serious challenges in recent years. Despite these challenges, the industry has managed to grow and offer new services to consumers throughout the state. Part of the reason the industry has managed to overcome the challenges it has faced is due to changes in the state’s insurance regulations. These regulations are enforced by the Georgia Insurance Department, which has taken steps to ensure that many of the industry can operate as it needs to in order to thrive.
All drivers in Georgia are required to carry auto insurance coverage for the vehicles they operate. The Georgia Insurance Department has determined that drivers may carry a minimum level of coverage for their vehicles to be considered insured. This coverage must account for: $25,000 per person for bodily injury; $50,000 per accident for bodily injury to two or more people; and $25,000 per accident for property damage. Insurers are required to submit proof of coverage to a statewide database that can be easily accessed by law enforcement and other pertinent parties. This database contains the most up-to-date coverage information on drivers. The state does not require drivers to carry personal injury protection (PIP) coverage.
According to the Georgia Insurance Department, the average cost of auto insurance coverage in the state is $1,778, roughly in line with the national average of $1,725.
The Georgia insurance industry has a relatively strong property/casualty sector. The property insurance sector provides coverage for homes and businesses throughout the state. Rates on this coverage vary depending on where a property is located, as some parts of the state are more prone to natural disasters than others. Homeowners insurance is not mandatory in Georgia, though it is recommended that homeowners protect their property with insurance coverage to mitigate the impact of natural disasters. Flood insurance is not typically offered as part of homeowners insurance policies and must be acquired as a supplemental policy from either private or public insurance companies.
Georgia is home to 9.5 million people, 20% of which do not have health insurance coverage. The Georgia insurance industry is sometimes criticized for imposing higher health insurance rates than consumers can afford, leading to a high uninsured population. Many insurers argue that rates must match the cost of medical care and account for the financial risk that consumers present on average. Thus far, the Georgia Insurance Department, which regulates rates, has provided approval for higher rate proposals coming from the state’s insurance providers.
Insurance News Update: In November 2012, Georgia determined that it would not build its own health insurance exchange, per the recommendation of legislative committees. Though some of these committees had pushed for a state-run exchange, Governor Nathan Deal considers an exchange to be a financial burden at this time. The federal government will be in charge of establishing an exchange in the state of Georgia.
Georgia Insurance Resources:
Georgia Insurance Commissioner: Ralph T. Hudgens
Georgia Department of Insurance Website: http://www.oci.ga.gov/
Georgia Insurance Licensing Info: http://www.oci.ga.gov/Agents/Home.aspx
File Insurance Complaint: http://www.oci.ga.gov/ConsumerService/complaintprocess.aspx