Bill to Increase Financial Responsibility Limits Receives Another Hearing
The House Insurance Committee recently heard proponent testimony on legislation to increase Ohio’s financial responsibility limits. House Bill 278 features a phased-in approach with the limits initially being increased to $20,000/$40,000 for bodily injury limits and $15,000 for property damage limits (20/40/15) for two years and then subsequently increasing to 25/50/25. The last hearing on the bill was held in the fall.
During the hearing, the Ohio State Bar Association testified in support of increasing the limits, reminding the committee that Ohio’s financial responsibility laws have not changed since 1969, providing insufficient liability coverage.
Research done in the past few years shows PIA members overwhelmingly support an increase in the limits, however, PIA does not support a two-step tiered approach and suggests one increase to 25/50/25.
Even though agents are seeking to protect their clients who will be harmed by drivers with inadequate limits, insurance industry support is too easily portrayed as “self serving.” For this reason, PIA believes it is appropriate to allow trial lawyer organizations to take the lead on this issue and will work behind the scenes to represent our membership interests and educate legislators. The sponsors of this legislation are both practicing personal injury trial attorneys.
No future hearings are planned on the bill at this point in time, as the issue is not a top priority for legislative leaders.