New public opinion survey findings from the Insurance Research Council (IRC) indicate that a majority of Americans believe that adopting new laws allowing people to sue their own auto insurance company for punitive damages, in addition to receiving benefits for their insured claim losses, is not a good idea. Twenty-six percent of those surveyed said that allowing such lawsuits was a poor idea, and 31 percent said it was only a fair idea.
According to a new study from the Insurance Research Council, low reimbursements from public health insurance programs, such as Medicare and Medicaid, have prompted hospitals to shift costs to automobile insurance companies—raising auto injury claim costs and forcing auto insurers to more closely scrutinize and negotiate hospital bills prior to payment.
An overwhelming majority of consumers with auto and homeowners insurance are satisfied with their insurance companies, according to a new public opinion study by the Insurance Research Council (IRC). Ninety-one percent of respondents with auto insurance said that they were either very satisfied (61 percent) or fairly satisfied (30 percent) with their current auto insurer. Eighty-nine percent of homeowners said that they were either very satisfied (56 percent) or fairly satisfied (33 percent) with their homeowners insurance company.
A new study by the Insurance Research Council (IRC) finds that many Americans have taken steps to reduce personal insurance costs in response to the economic downturn, but that maintaining essential auto and homeowners coverage remains a priority for the vast majority of consumers. Twenty-eight percent of those with auto insurance coverage surveyed for the study reported shopping for lower rates when they normally would not have done so. Among those with auto or homeowners insurance, 15 percent said they had increased their insurance deductibles or reduced the amount of coverage in order to reduce premium costs.
A new study by the Insurance Research Council (IRC) details the steady incorporation of front and side airbag systems in motor vehicles and documents the beneficial impact of this trend on auto injury insurance claim costs. The study examined the type of passenger restraint system found in insured vehicles in a sample of 2007 closed auto injury insurance claims and looked at differences in the extent of injuries and subsequent claim payments. The report found a rapid transition from seat belts only to front and side airbag systems as model years advanced within the sample of vehicles involved in 2007 personal injury protection (PIP) claims. Among vehicles from model year 1990, 80 percent had seat belts but no airbags, and 20 percent had front airbags. Among 1998 model year vehicles, all vehicles were equipped with airbags—89 percent had front airbags only and 11 percent also included side airbags. Among vehicles from model year 2007, 82 percent had front and side airbags.
Approximately one in six drivers across the United States may be driving uninsured by 2010, according to a recent study from Insurance Research Council (IRC). Although the estimated percentage of uninsured motorists decreased nationally, from 14.9 percent in 2003 to 13.8 percent in 2007, the recent economic downturn is expected to trigger a sharp rise in the uninsured motorist rate. The recently released study, Uninsured Motorists, 2008 Edition, estimates the percentage of uninsured drivers countrywide and by state for the period 2005 to 2007. The IRC estimates the uninsured driver population using a ratio of insurance claims made by individuals who were injured by uninsured drivers to claims made by individuals who were injured by insured drivers. The study contains recent statistics by state on uninsured motorists claim frequency, bodily injury liability claim frequency, and the ratio of uninsured motorists to bodily injury claim frequencies.
A new study by the Insurance Research Council (IRC) estimates that claim fraud and buildup added between $4.8 billion and $6.8 billion in excess payments to auto injury insurance claims closed with payment in 2007. The excess payments amount to between 13 percent and 18 percent of total payments under the five main private passenger auto injury coverages. Excess payments have increased from 2002, when they were estimated at between $4.3 billion and $5.8 billion, or between 11 and 15 percent of total payments. The percentage of claims that appeared to involve fraud, defined as specific material misrepresentation of the facts of a loss, increased from 9 percent of bodily injury (BI) claims closed with payment in 2002 to 11 percent of closed claims in 2007. The percentage of personal injury protection (PIP) claims with apparent fraud rose slightly, from 5 percent in 2002 to 6 percent in 2007.
Chiropractors now account for a greater share of total provider charges in Minnesota's no-fault insurance system than all other types of treating providers combined. According to a new study from the Insurance Research Council (IRC), 58 percent of all provider charges for treatment of no-fault insurance claimants in 2007 were from chiropractors. In a study conducted five years earlier, IRC found that 41 percent of all treatment charges were from chiropractors. The recently released study, Analysis of No-Fault Auto Insurance Claims in Minnesota, is based on a detailed review of more than 500 personal injury protection (PIP) insurance claims closed with payment in 2007. The claims were among the 42,038 claims examined in the IRC's countrywide report, Auto Injury Insurance Claims: Countrywide Patterns in Treatment, Cost, and Compensation. The growing cost of chiropractic treatment in Minnesota's auto insurance system is attributable primarily to rapid growth in average charges per visit to chiropractor offices. Between 2002 and 2007, average chiropractor charges in Minnesota increased 30 percent, from $122 to $158 per visit. In addition, the percentage of PIP claimants receiving chiropractor treatment increased approximately 5 percent. Minnesota had the third highest utilization rate for chiropractors (42 percent) among 17 states with no-fault insurance claims. Only Washington and Florida had higher chiropractor utilization rates in 2007.