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State Insurance Claims, Reform

It is very hard to understand why The Times would give so much space to the insurance industry’s biased reports on auto accident injury claims (“State Leads Nation in Filing Injury Claims for Auto Accidents,” Dec. 19).

The reports were commissioned by major insurance carriers with no input from consumer groups. It is obvious that the numbers are skewed to favor the insurance industry’s position. Even in his own story Kenneth Reich points out that injury claims in no-fault states are counted differently than they are in liability states, such as California. Consequently, there may be even more claims in no-fault states, but only those injury claims over a certain dollar threshold are counted. In California, all claims paid are counted, no matter how small the dollar amount.

The California Trial Lawyers Assn. has always been an advocate of strict standards regarding fraudulent accident claims. In fact, last year we supported Assembly Bill 2315, which would have weeded out fraudulent claims. In 1991 we will again sponsor legislation to curb phony claims filed by individuals or attorneys.

Every year the insurance industry seems to gift-wrap some new set of statistics it has devised to help bolster its ongoing crusade for no-fault auto insurance. Given the industry’s long history of manipulating numbers, including rate setting, the report’s conclusions shouldn’t prove to difficult to debunk once unbiased research delves into them.

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LEONARD ESQUINA JR., Executive Director, California Trial Lawyers Assn., Sacramento


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