Lawmakers Try To Reconcile Higher Taxes With Economic Relief

To say that the world is experiencing a tumultuous series of events is an enormous understatement. Our people — for the most part — know that we need to act fast to spare ourselves from the harshest consequences of man-made climate change, which will cause environmental and economic devastation in the long-term. But amidst the COVID-19 crisis, we already need economic relief. How do we pay for relief without sacrificing the need for change? 

It’s a tough equation even for the experts.

Virginia legislators are slated to pass legislation that would have an adverse effect on insurance costs at a time when many families are already struggling to find work. Senate Bills 1182, 1195, and 1202 would revise current laws relating to financial responsibility. They would implement “bad faith actions for auto claims.” They would amend the need for underinsured or uninsured coverage. For example, bodily injury coverage required would be doubled to $100,000. Those requirements would inevitably be reflected in costs.

Those against the changes argue that they will lead to more court cases, increased costs, and the need for more legislation in the future.

In addition, advocates for the legislation have allowed little room for debate and ignored inquiries into the necessity of these additions. Nancy Egan wrote in The Roanoke Times: “There has been no consumer outcry to make changes to existing auto insurance law and there is no urgent need to pass reforms, so why now?”

She continued: “The COVID pandemic continues to ravage people’s lives and livelihoods. The Biden Administration has made it a priority to provide relief to Americans during these challenging times. Virginia lawmakers should do the same and protect individuals, families and businesses from increasing auto insurance costs by voting no on SBs 1182, 1202 and 1195.” 

It’s still too early to know what will happen, but we expect that lawmakers will enact the new legislation.