Wisconsin Passes Bill to Reduce Auto Liability Coverage Minimums

April 6, 2011

Insurers are praising the passage in Wisconsin of a bill that would reduce the mandatory minimum auto insurance liability limits in that state.

The American Insurance Association (AIA) commended the Wisconsin State Senate for passing Assembly Bill 4, legislation that insurance trade groups say will improve the state’s automobile insurance climate for consumers. The bill was passed by the Wisconsin State Assembly in March.

In 2009, Wisconsin doubled its minimum liability limits. Under this new bill, those mandatory limits would be substantially reduced permitting insurance buyers in the state to choose the level of coverage they need and can afford.

Under the 2009 law, motorists are currently required to obtain $50,000 of coverage for accidents causing bodily injury or death for a single victim, $100,000 for multiple victims, and $15,000 for property damage.

AB 4 will roll back those limits to $25,000, $50,000 and $10,000, respectively.

“This legislation gives Wisconsin motorists more flexibility when purchasing auto insurance coverage,” said Steve Schneider, AIA Midwest region vice president. “And it should hopefully decrease the number of uninsured motorists in the state who currently can’t afford coverage.”

Mark Johnston, state affairs manager for the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies (NAMIC), also commended the Wisconsin Legislature for passing AB 4. “The numerous mandates in that bill increased premiums and thereby created undue hardship on those Wisconsin motorists who could least afford it. AB 4 will increase consumer choice by allowing the purchase of coverage that best fits a family’s needs,” Johnson said.

Jeffrey Junkas, regional manager for Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI), noted that, “in addition to addressing financial responsibility limits, it returns medical payments and uninsured motorist minimum limits to their prior levels. This bill restores several important provisions, all of which help to temper loss costs that ultimately drive auto insurance premiums.”

The bill awaits the signature of the governor.

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