Milkovich: HB 372 would take away citizens’ rights, not reduce insurance rates

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Sen. John Milkovich, D-Shreveport. (Justin DiCharia/LSU Manship School News Service)

A special interest PAC, directed by politicians and headquartered in Metairie, has sent out 2 mailouts to Caddo and DeSoto Parishes The mailouts state  I voted against lowering insurance rates, when I voted against HB 372.  The mailouts, paid for by wealthy special interests, are false.  I did not vote against lowering insurance rates.  Rather, I voted to protect our citizens from big insurance. 

I did vote against HB 372. However, HB 372 did not lower insurance rates.  It increased insurance company profits.  And it cut your rights.  But it did not cut their rates.  

Instead, as the author of HB 372 admitted before the Senate Judiciary Committee, HB 372 would have: 

1. Reduced payouts by Insurance Companies.

2. Increased profits for Insurance Companies.

3. Made it illegal to sue Insurance Companies in Louisiana (i.e., “name Insurers in a lawsuit”).

4. Made it illegal for Jurors to know about the existence of insurance coverage.  

The one thing HB 372 does not do:  it does not cut rates. And the Insurance Industry made no promise to lower rates if HB 372 was passed.

What the special interests did not tell you about HB 372: 

● The Insurance Rating Commission was abolished in 2007,  giving virtual autonomy to the Insurance Commissioner to set rates.  

● Insurance Rates are set by the Insurance Commissioner–– not the Louisiana Senate.  

● The Insurance Commissioner received over half a million dollars in Campaign Contributions from the Insurance Industry, in the 16 months preceding the 2019 Session. 

● The State Representative that introduced HB 372, received thousands of dollars in contributions from Insurance interests–– and opposed amending HB 372 to guarantee a rate reduction.  

We don’t know whether Insurance Companies  are barely getting by or making huge profits in Louisiana.  We don’t know, because the Insurance Commissioner has not released the data. 

HB 372 would require that Louisiana Citizens give up legal rights, in return for the sketchy assertion that rates will be reduced when someone decides–– the Bill doesn’t say who––  that a rate cut is “actuarially justified.”  

HB 372 was never intended to protect consumers. It was intended to increase insurance company profits.  It was about profits–– not protection.   HB 372 didn’t cut insurer’s rates.  It cut your rights.  

There is constant pressure in Baton Rouge, to go along with special interests, lobbyists and bureaucrats.   If you refuse to cave in to the  power brokers, there are paybacks.  Misleading mailouts from high dollar PACs, is exactly what happens to elected officials who don’t take orders from special interests. 

One thing is sure:  At this late date,  I don’t intend to take  orders from the PACs and politicians. I wasn’t elected to the Louisiana Senate to represent special interests.  I was elected to represent the people of Louisiana.  

With God’s help, that’s what I intend to do. 

John Milkovich is a Louisiana State Senator for Dist. 38