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American Press

Monday, August 29, 2016
Southwest Louisiana ,

New program to allow police to check insurance

Last Modified: Sunday, February 28, 2016 9:04 AM

By Justin Phillips / American Press

A new real-time auto insurance monitoring system is being implemented in select parts of the state today to help police enforce the requirement that all drivers are up to date on paying their premiums. Previously, police could only check to see if a driver had an insurance card and not if coverage had lapsed due to non-payment.

In a recent report by the Insurance Research Council, 12 percent to 15 percent of Louisiana motorists are uninsured. The report, released in 2014, was based on the number of insurance claims made by people who were injured by uninsured drivers compared with those hurt by insured drivers.

The new monitoring system will be rolled out in three phases, beginning with trial runs by state police in Baton Rouge and Monroe. It will then be launched statewide for all state police troops before eventually being open to all police, according to state officials.

The system will pull reports from insurance companies and provide the information to the state Office of Motor Vehicles as well as state police. Troopers will be able to check the database from their vehicles during a traffic stop.

Troop D spokesman Sgt. James Anderson said the system, which has yet to make it to Calcasieu Parish, could ultimately increase efficiency for police across the state.

Anderson said that when a state trooper conducts a traffic stop now, the trooper has to contact the troop by radio to determine whether the driver has up-to-date insurance. The new system is expected to remove the extra step in the verification process.

“By eliminating that third-party input, it will allow us to have the most current and most accurate information readily available,” Anderson said. “The current information on drivers will allow us to ensure they’re complying with our state liability insurance laws.”

Louisiana is routinely identified as having some of the country’s highest insurance rates. State residents pay an average of $1,774 in car insurance premiums each year — the fourth-highest amount in the country behind Michigan, Montana and Washington, D.C., according to insure.com. The national average is $1,311.

In late 2015, a massive backlog of lapsed insurance cases resulted in the state OMV issuing fines to a large number of Louisiana residents. State officials have said the real-time monitoring system will keep the state from any similar backlogs in the future.

“I think the system will be a good thing,” Anderson said.

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Online: www.expresslane.org.

Posted By: Don Birkholz On: 2/28/2016

Title: What happens next?

Is this law going to mean more on food stamps, more down to the food bank, more landlords not getting their rent, more robberies more thefts, more stolen license plates? Let's just stick our heads in the sand and ignore the bad side effects of this law.Why not get the insurance people behind you. State Farm says this law creates more social ill than the benefits. There are two sides here.

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