R Street group pushes auto insurance reform in North Carolina

Readers of two of North Carolina’s largest newspapers recently encountered arguments favoring auto insurance reform from two representatives of the Washington-based R Street think tank.

R.J. Lehmann labels the North Carolina Rate Bureau “the opposite of competition — a legally mandated, but privately run cartel through which insurers collectively set both rates and the terms and conditions of coverage for insurance products,” according to an R Street release. That’s why other states abandoned rate bureaus long ago. “The largest national insurers are in favor of reforming the system, while the opponents are large carriers in North Carolina, but represent less than 5 percent of that national market.”

Meanwhile, David Marlett argues “that current auto insurance price controls stifle innovation, as the states with simpler, more modern systems are the first to receive new programs, while North Carolina is left for last, or left out altogether.”

Those who’ve followed this issue closely might remember that R Street founder Eli Lehrer has studied North Carolina’s auto insurance system for the John Locke Foundation. JLF’s Shaftesbury Society also hosted an April Shaftesbury Society luncheon on the latest version of auto insurance reform, dubbed the Good Driver Discount bill.

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