AAI Outlines 2003 Federal, State Priorities at NPC

January 15, 2003

Alliance of American Insurers President Rodger Lawson outlined the association’s priorities for 2003 at a recent press briefing held at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.

Among the group’s top priorities for the 108th Congress will be smooth implementation of the Terrorism Risk Insurance Program, reform of the class-action system, medical malpractice insurance, asbestos reform, privacy and dual chartering.

“We believe our industry needs improved regulatory oversight, but our goal is to effect change within the current state system,” Lawson said. “We believe that advocates of a dual charter system need to thoroughly demonstrate whether it would be good public policy.”

Key state issues include homeowners insurance availability and affordability, mold, workers’ compensation and medical costs, and civil justice and asbestos reforms.

“The recent explosion in class-action suits and the abuses that accompany them are forcing corporations to focus on lawsuits rather than manufacturing better products, providing better services or lowering prices,” Lawson continued. The Alliance supports efforts to make it easier to move class actions from state court to federal court, and to reform state procedures for handling class actions that remain in state courts.

Lawson called asbestos “the problem that just won’t go away.” The Alliance wants to educate lawmakers about the expense of asbestos litigation, and “enlighten them to the outrageous behavior of the trial bar and the bottom-line impact on their finances,” he said.

“Inaction will make this situation an even greater drain on the overall economy, with the potential to limit job growth,” he added.

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