Insurers Urge Other States to Follow Mississippi’s Lead for Meaningful Civil Justice Reform

June 7, 2004

The American Insurance Association (AIA) is urging other states with dysfunctional civil justice systems to follow Mississippi’s lead by enacting comprehensive tort reform.

“Today, Mississippi is a trailblazer in the national campaign to end lawsuit abuse and restore fairness and predictability to courts across the country,” said Robert Vagley, AIA president.

Insurance companies reportedly look carefully at a state’s legal and regulatory environment when making decisions about where to open new offices, hire employees, and market their products. According to the AIA, those who are charged with improving the lives of Mississippi workers and consumers – starting at the top with Gov. Haley Barbour, Lt. Gov. Amy Tuck, and state House and Senate leaders – understand, and have acted on, that reality.

“Mississippi’s enactment of strong civil justice reform should be a wake-up call to other states where litigation excess has caused an exodus of companies and jobs,” continued Vagley. “If Mississippi can take action, there is absolutely no reason that jurisdictions from California to Illinois to West Virginia shouldn’t follow suit. Sadly, litigation and judicial reforms that stem the rising tide of lawsuit abuse is long overdue in many states. Without such reform, employers will continue to see a large sign that reads ‘business not welcome’ on the state’s front door.”

“Gov. Barbour knows that states need to pay as much attention to the quality of their liability environment as they do to their state’s education system and transportation infrastructure,” Vagley stated. “Civil justice reform is a leading indicator for future economic development and jobs. Now that tort reform is a reality, there is no doubt that insurers and other businesses of all kinds will take a second look at Mississippi.”

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