Nevada DMV Insurance Verification Contract Questioned

May 4, 2009

Former Nevada Assembly speaker and current lobbyist Richard Perkins is pushing a bill to require the state Department of Motor Vehicles to contract with a private company to verify motorists’ automobile insurance.

Under AB504, only one company would qualify for the contract, according to Perkins and DMV officials. That company, Michigan-based InsureNet, has hired Perkins as its lobbyist.

DMV Director Edgar Roberts said the legislation would circumvent the state’s bidding process, which is intended to guarantee that taxpayers get the best deal.

DMV officials acknowledged the department’s system for verifying that registered cars have insurance, as required by law, is slow and inefficient. It can take up to 45 days for the department to become aware of a lapse in insurance.

The agency considered contracting with a private company to improve the insurance check system, but decided to develop one in-house. In September, the Legislature’s Interim Finance Committee approved $377,000 in overtime and other expenses so the department could develop technology to more quickly conduct the checks.

Roberts questioned InsureNet’s qualifications and experience, saying, “As far as we can tell, the company that would be the sole provider has no track record of providing its services to other departments of motor vehicles.”

Perkins, a former Henderson police chief, said the company is the only one with access to a multistate insurance information network, the National Law Enforcement Telecommunication System, or NLETS, which police officers in the field use to check whether out-of-state drivers have insurance.

Asked whether the state would be at a disadvantage during negotiations, since only one company could qualify under the bill, Perkins said, “The state isn’t going to give away the store … The last thing I want is to cost the state a lot of money.”

Topics Legislation Nevada

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