When the world’s first automobiles took to the streets in the late nineteenth century, driving was seen as a privilege, not a right. Therefore, drivers were expected to obtain insurance before pulling on their driving gloves and hitting the road. America’s first automobile insurance policy was penned by Travelers Insurance in 1898, and Massachusetts became the first state to mandate it in 1927. The auto insurance industry took off after World War II, thanks to an increase in production and an expansion of America’s highways.
Today, every state in the nation requires some form of compulsory auto insurance. Even though auto insurance is the only product Americans are forced to purchase, it is provided exclusively by for-profit private companies that operate with little oversight.
Since the first policy in 1898, car insurance has become increasingly expensive, and drivers have little recourse. Because we’re legally obligated to carry it, we can either pay exorbitant rates or surrender our keys.
We may blame skyrocketing rates on greedy insurers with a corner on the market, but the industry is quick to point the finger at an unlikely source – our courts. Insurance companies claim frivolous lawsuits and huge payouts are forcing them to raise rates. They blame plaintiffs, judges, and juries for premium increases. “If we just enacted tort reform, costs would go down for all of us!” they cry.
Unfortunately for insurers, their baseless claims have been debunked – repeatedly. In addition to countless studies, unimpeachable data, and painstaking research, industry insiders and tort reform advocates have been forced to backpedal and admit the truth.
“Tort reform will not lower rates.
“[T]he insurance industry never promised that tort reform would achieve specific premium savings.
“We wouldn’t tell you or anyone that the reason to pass tort reform would be to reduce insurance rates.
There is nothing wrong with our tort system, but there is something very wrong with our insurance system. Instead of reforming our courts, we need substantive insurance reform to relieve the financial burden on drivers and make our roadways safe.