As the debate begins on HB-925, an anti-business bill that aims to heavily regulate the consumer legal funding industry, members should consider the impact this bill would have not only on the industry but on the many consumers who rely on this product. HB-925 is laced with toxic and devastating anti-free-market price controls. Taking with it stranding the thousands of working class consumers who have come to rely on its services every day.
For years, the services of consumer legal funding has helped families from all across Louisiana cope with debilitating injuries, caused at no fault of their own, usually from an auto accident. These accidents often leave hardworking citizens out of a job, without a full paycheck, and unable to pay for everyday necessities such as rent, utilities, medical bills and food. The ability of consumer legal funding to provide, debt-free, non-recourse, fully disclosed funding agreements is vital for these injured consumers to get back onto their feet, and to continue to pursue a full and fair settlement with their insurance company.
Consumer legal funding allowed citizens like Carla from Ponchatoula, Louisiana and Genora from Eunice, Louisiana to finally stand up to large pocketed insurance companies and fight for what they deserved, a fair settlement on their injury claims. They no longer had to worry about their daily living expenses.
Carla from Ponchatoula said it best after her accident, and after use of a consumer legal funding company. “[Consumer legal funding] helped me survive until my life straightened out, thank you.”
Genora from Eunice was also thankful for the services consumer legal funding provided to her and her family. “[Consumer legal funding] has been very helpful during my time of financial need.”
Who is behind the push to pass such legislation in the Louisiana General Assembly to eliminate an entire industry from existence affecting so many consumers who rely on this vital service?
Out-of-state insurance conglomerates, and the Washington, D.C. based advocacy group, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, of course. Large Insurance corporations view the consumer legal funding industry as a direct threat to maximizing their already enormous bottoms lines, and look to gain greatly from this legislation. Traditionally an insurance company would use a consumer’s accident and lack of financial security to force less-than-market-rate settlements. Consumer legal funding bridges the financial gap from the time an accident occurs until a consumer has a chance to fairly settle their injury claim. Consumer legal funding gives consumers the strength to hang on in court proceedings or settlement negotiations despite having limited bargaining power against large insurance interests.
Although these bills will be sold as consumer-friendly and pro-business by the Insurance industry and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, we ask members in the House of Representatives to recognize HB-925 for what it really is, an anti-free market, anti-consumer, pro-insurance, power grab bill.
For an industry, like insurance, which consistently marks their products up at a 200% – 400% profit margin, it is hard to take them serious when they say they are trying to protect the consumer in the legislation they are pushing.