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Trusted local news leader for Prescott area communities since 1882
9:50 AM Thu, Jan. 17th

Editorial: Lawmakers shouldn’t mess with insurance laws

This will not come as a shock to anyone, but most people don’t read every line of those user agreements when you sign up for Facebook or Twitter. When they are signing the 100 or so pages on the mortgage agreements, they may not read every word.

And when they sign up for insurance they probably don’t dive into the fine print, or send off a copy to their lawyers before they sign.

The insurance company provides a one-sheet overview, letting the client know what their limits and liability are in an easy-to-understand format.

Most people are not lawyers and don’t want the headache of trying to decipher legalese.

A bill currently making its way through the Arizona House of Representatives would harm consumers and should be stopped.

HB2045 would make that one-page, easy-to-understand summary useless. An insurance company could write anything they want on it, and not be responsible to living up to those claims. Instead, the only document that would matter would be all that legal language in fine print in the contract.

So consumers would either have to read that, or be surprised when they find out some things they thought were covered are actually not part of the policy.

Rep. David Livingston, R-Peoria, is pushing the measure and it cleared the House with a 35-23 party-line vote. Insurance companies would no doubt love if this bill passes the Senate and is signed by Gov. Doug Ducey. Consumers should hate it.

The primary motivation behind this bill seems to be to cover insurance companies that wish to provide Spanish translations to some customers, but worry about being legally held responsible for anything that may have been mistranslated.

But it’s the unintended consequences that causes us concern. Say an unethical insurance company decides to set up shop in Arizona, offering cheap policies that promise great coverage on the one-sheet summary. But in the fine print, you find out they barely cover anything.

There are other ways to deal with translation concerns so insurance companies can try to broaden their markets. Saying that an insurance company does not have to live up to the promises it makes on its one-sheet summary of the policy that any client can understand is a bad idea and hopefully will be rejected.

The Daily Courier