Coalition Urges Assembly Banking and Insurance Committee to Support Choice and Competition Act

The Coalition for Auto Insurance Competition is urging the Assembly Banking and Insurance Committee to favorably release the “New Jersey Automobile Insurance Choice and Competition Act,” scheduled for consideration May 5, 2003.

The New Jersey Automobile Insurance Choice and Competition Act (S-63/A-2625) would reform current law by giving more choices to consumers and encouraging competition among New Jersey’s automobile insurance carriers.

“This bill’s enactment would mark a first step toward reform,” said John Friedman, the Coalition’s chairman. “This plan is the foundation upon which a competitive market can be built.”

The Coalition believes the state’s excessive regulation of auto insurance is the culprit behind the lack of auto insurance choice and competition in New Jersey. In the last decade, more than 20 auto insurance companies have left the Garden State, and currently four of the six largest insurers do not write any business in the state. New Jersey has 47 percent fewer companies selling auto insurance than Illinois and more than a third fewer than neighboring New York and Pennsylvania.

“Having to operate under the state’s restrictive and difficult regulatory regime, where insurers are told what products to sell, to whom they must sell and how much to charge, companies will lack an incentive to remain and invest in New Jersey,” said Friedman. “Drivers need a regulatory system that promotes competition, encourages companies to sell auto insurance, and creates a stable market that offers more choices for consumers.”

Senator Ronald L. Rice (R-Newark) sponsors S-63, and Assemblymen Louis D. Greenwald, (D-Cherry Hill) and Christopher Bateman, (R-Branchburg) are prime sponsors to the companion bill, A-2625. Co-sponsors to A-2625 are Assemblywoman Nilsa Cruz-Perez, Assemblyman Gary L. Guear, Assemblyman Matt Ahearn, Assemblyman Joseph Cryan, Assemblyman Willis Edwards, Assemblyman Peter J. Biondi, Assemblyman Robert J. Smith, Assemblyman Jack Connors, Assemblyman Richard A. Merkt, Assemblyman David W. Wolfe, Assemblyman Alex DeCroce, and Assemblyman Joseph Penacchio.

The Coalition for Auto Insurance Competition includes the National Association of Independent Insurers, Insurance Council of New Jersey, American Insurance Association, New Jersey Chamber of Commerce, Independent Insurance Agents of New Jersey, Citizens for a Sound Economy, National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies, New Jersey Association of REALTORS(R), Professional Insurance Agents of New Jersey, New Jersey Food Council, New Jersey Retail Merchants Association, NJ SEED (Society for Environmental, Economic Development) Latino Chamber of Commerce of Mercer County, and the Commerce and Industry Association of New Jersey.