October 3, 2018
How to Repair Car Insurance Policies
by Lewis Fein
The current system is economically unsustainable and morally unforgivable, requiring cleanup from insurers and better clarity from lawyers.
Car insurance is, to borrow the title of a book by Ralph Nader, unsafe at any speed. It is a gruesome fact, indeed, as the annual number of automotive fatalities is too large to be an abstraction and too sizable to be a purely academic matter.
Maybe the reform the insurance industry needs—and the safety every driver deserves—comes from without rather than within; maybe those who advocate safety, and agitate (peacefully) for change, are the very advocates who do this for a living; lawyers who specialize in representing car accident victims.
Where there is no room for doubt—where there is no roadway for leeway and no acceptance of maybe as an answer—concerns the status quo. The current system is economically unsustainable and morally unforgivable, a pileup of a disaster that requires cleanup from insurers and better clarity from most lawyers. That is, if we want to lower costs and lessen risk, we must inform drivers of their rights and, pardon the series of automotive metaphors, dissuade insurers from making yet another wrong turn.
According to John K. Zaid, a Houston-based lawyer, companies should invite attorneys to speak to their respective workers about car and road safety. Insurers should join this conversation, too, because it is in their interest to make personal safety a professional priority.
See also: The Sharing Economy and Auto Insurance
Far from being an adversarial process, these seminars can unite lawyers and insurers. The two share most of, if not all, the same goals—including an emphasis on education, so drivers can be more aware of the dangers they face and automobile manufacturers can produce less dangerous cars, so everyone can profit from fewer risks and more benefits.
Lawyers can give voice to these issues—they already do, when entering a courtroom or issuing opening and closing remarks to a jury. They can be, and are, a voice of reason.
They nonetheless need insurers to convert these voices into a chorus of rhythm and harmony; in which safety is a universal mission; in which life is too precious a commodity for talk about compromise; in which product liability compromises the health of many and the lives—and livelihoods—of millions; in which the way some corporations do business is an increasingly surefire way for companies to go out of business.
Let this chorus be as diverse as possible, resonating in every city, county and state.
Let it echo in the corridors of power and reverberate among the powerful.
Let it be a call to action by lawyers and insurers alike, because we cannot afford to read more statistics without seeing the faces behind the numbers: young and old, rich and poor, parents and grandparents, friends and neighbors.
See also: Beginning of the End for Car Insurance?
We cannot afford a policy of indifference, whose premiums we can neither permit nor attempt to pay.
We can, however, save lives through a partnership of protection.
We can do so—we must do so—before car accidents become too commonplace to be cause for concern.
The consequences are too important to look or feel inconsequential.