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Wayne Goodwin: Bill would raise, not lower, insurance rates

The complete article can be found here: The News & Observer

State lawmakers should beware a deceptive sales pitch that State Farm and a group of other insurance giants are making for car insurance legislation. North Carolina drivers would pay the price.

Under the umbrella of a lobbying effort called FAIR NC, companies are pressuring lawmakers to take up the so-called Good Driver Discount Bill, a measure that would ultimately destroy North Carolina’s car insurance system and lead to higher rates for drivers. The FAIR NC companies claim good drivers, good students and members of the military are missing out on discounts offered in other states because of North Carolina laws. But that’s demonstrably false. Nothing in North Carolina law prevents companies from offering discounts.

The state insurance commissioner sets a cap on rates, and insurers compete by offering discounts below the established cap. In fact, almost 200 car insurance companies offer more than 2,000 car insurance discounts in North Carolina. There are discounts for good drivers, safe drivers, careful drivers, mature drivers, good students, members of the military and more.

This shouldn’t come as a surprise to FAIR NC; after all, members State Farm, Allstate, GEICO, Erie and USAA all offer discounts for good drivers in North Carolina right now. The big insurance companies wouldn’t need to lobby for something they can already do – charge drivers less for car insurance. They need a change in law only to charge drivers more.

North Carolina has the sixth-lowest average car insurance rates in the country and the lowest in the South. While insurance companies bait lawmakers with talk of discounts, in reality they’re pushing for drastic changes that would let them charge much more to drivers, including students, members of the military and people with no...

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