AIA: Another Challenging Year Expected for Insurers in Colorado

January 16, 2006

The 2006 Colorado legislative session began this past week, and the American Insurance Association (AIA) expects it to be another challenging year for insurers as it works to keep costs down in the automobile insurance and workers’ compensation markets.

Following the Interim Auto Insurance Committee hearings that were held by the legislature last summer, six bills were drafted and five of them have already been introduced in the Colorado House: HB 19 requiring emergency medical care coverage to be included in auto insurance policies; HB 1036 requiring auto insurance carriers to offer medical payment coverage in connection with policies; HB 1030 requiring an insurer to make certain disclosures to consumers regarding the content of auto policies; HB 1043 which would create the Colorado consumer insurance board; and HB 1044, which would require insurers to make benefit disclosures to a third‑party claimant in a motor vehicle accident and also would declare certain actions by insurers to be unfair claim settlement practices.

“We must continue to remind the legislature that any mandatory programs that are added to auto insurance policies will only increase costs for Colorado consumers, which was the precise reason the legislature decided to repeal the costly no-fault auto system and transition to a tort system,” said Fred Bosse, AIA vice president, Southwest Region.

“The most important thing for Colorado drivers is to maintain affordability, choice and competition through a stable auto insurance system. By avoiding regulatory and legislative mandates, the auto insurance system will have time to stabilize and benefit all Coloradans.”

Workers’ comp reform is also expected to be at the top of the list of legislation insurers will face during this session. The most problematic of the expected workers’ comp bills is one that would allow employee choice of physician.

“A package of similar workers’ compensation bills considered last year was projected to increase costs for employers by more than 15 percent,” explained Bosse. “AIA will continue to work hard to defeat any legislation that would increase rates for Colorado employers.”

The 2006 Colorado legislative session convened Jan. 11 and will adjourn by May 10.

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