Insurers Call for Approval of Class Action Legislation

January 27, 2005

As Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) announced his intention to make class action reform legislation an immediate priority for the 109th Congress this week, the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America released a statement reiterating the need for reform and its support of the nation’s legislators backing such measures. According the insurance company association, asbestos litigation reform and medical liability reform are joining the class action reform at the top of the Senate’s agenda, and 2005 could become a watershed year for Congress to reshape the nation’s legal system.

“I am pleased that leaders in both the House of Representatives and the Senate have joined President Bush in making legal reform a priority for the 109th Congress,” said PCI President and CEO Ernie Csiszar, in a written statement. “A recent study conducted by the actuarial firm of Tillinghast Towers Perrin documented the crippling costs of our disjointed legal system.

Csiszar state there are a number of legal reform initiatives that could receive significant attention in from Congress in 2005, including S. 5, the Class Action Fairness Act.

“Class action abuse is a major contributor to the $246 billion our legal system costs consumers each and every year,” Csiszar continued.

“Congress’ awareness of class action reform has not occurred overnight. Members on both sides of the aisle have acted in good faith and created a bill over several years that promises to address the most egregious problems within the legal system. I am confident that with Senator Frist’s leadership, this legislation has a distinct opportunity to become law this year.

“I am also pleased to see Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas) reintroducing the Lawsuit Abuse Reduction Act, which will prevent lawyers from using the system for their own profit. That bill would also take steps to ban venue shopping, preventing lawyers from seeking out havens of leniency for the most frivolous of court actions.

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