As Washington, D.C. moves to codify its existing compulsory automobile insurance coverage reporting practices, insurers are urging district officials to take the opportunity to restructure the program.
The district can provide a more effective and cost-efficient system for verifying drivers' insurance coverage by switching to an Internet-based survey, industry representatives said in testimony before the City Council's Committee on Public Services and Consumer Affairs. "The web services system provides greater privacy protections for data on insured motorists and substantially reduces the lag time between when information is submitted and when it is used for confirmation of coverage," Micaela Isler, regional manager for the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America, said in a statement.
Under bill 18-699, all insurance companies that do business in the district will be required to provide their full book of business to the Department of Motor Vehicles on a monthly basis, Philip Barlow, associate commissioner for insurance of the Department of Insurance, Securities and Banking said in written testimony. Currently, more than 98% of insurers provide this data on a voluntary basis, he said.
Instead of a central city database, the district should consider a web-based program that directly links the agency to insurers for the purposes of providing coverage, Isler said. According to PCI, there is no evidence compulsory reporting programs reduce the uninsured motorist rate. A web-based uniform standard is developing and systems have been established in Nevada, Oklahoma, Texas and Wyoming.
The top writers of all private passenger automobile insurance in Washington, D.C. in 2009, based on direct premiums written, were Berkshire Hathaway Insurance Group, with a 35.0% market share; State Farm Group, with 20.0%; Progressive Insurance Group, with 7.8%; Allstate Insurance Group, with 7.8%; and USAA Group, with 7.4%, according to BestLink, which provides online access to A.M. Best's Global Insurance & Banking Database.
(By Sean P. Carr, Washington Correspondent: firstname.lastname@example.org)