Sen. Robert Mills: Advocate writer wrong about auto insurance

Editor’s Note: State Sen. Robert Mills wrote the following as a letter to the editor of The [Baton Rouge] Advocate.

The Advocate’s Mark Ballard wrote last week that Louisianans pay significantly lower auto insurance rates than the national average. Without a doubt, the conclusions about the cost of auto insurance in Ballard’s piece are undeniably and unequivocally false.

Little effort is required to find that the numbers used in the article are dubious at best. The story points to a cost-of-living analysis compiled by an out-of-state group that puts the average auto insurance premium in Louisiana at $985.

24/7 Wall St. points to yet another website, insure.com, as their source for this figure. However, if you visit insure.com, you can find their analysis, completed just a month ago, which clearly states that our drivers pay the second-highest premiums in the nation at $2,389.

In the piece, Ballard cites insurance.com, as another source, but a quick look shows that their own analysis, completed in May 2020, found that Louisiana has the second-highest auto insurance rates in the country for both full coverage ($2,601) and state minimum liability ($771).

Louisianans know their premiums are nowhere near $985. Readers should consider their bills and ask if their rates are close to the amount published. I would hope that if the average auto insurance premium in our state had fallen to $985, this newspaper would devote some coverage to that fact and use its journalists to examine what caused such a drastic decrease.

Throughout the debate on legal reform, both the proponents and opponents of the measures before the Legislature agreed that Louisiana drivers pay too much for auto insurance. We all recognized that they are too high. I don’t believe that would have been the case if our average premium were $985.

Our Views: A compromise on car insurance, but one that ought to lower our rates
Furthermore, nowhere in Ballard’s article is there any mention of a comment or verification of these numbers from the Louisiana Department of Insurance, the very state agency charged with regulating the insurance industry.

The Advocate could have easily verified these numbers with the Louisiana Department of Insurance and other sources before publishing Ballard’s article. If a reader can look at their bills, visit the websites named and find the glaring discrepancy, this newspaper should have done the same before going to press.