In January, the Indiana House passed House Bill 1205 (HB-1205). Contained within the bill are a series of anti-free-market and industry killing regulations that would impact the consumer legal funding industry. Regulations so severe, it would most certainly send the consumer legal funding to its grave in Indiana.
Now as HB-1205 heads to the Senate side for debate, Senators must decide what approach they will take as they discuss this dangerous piece of legislation. The Senate will have two options as they proceed on this bill, one is to pass the bill as is and favor one business group over another. The second is to add common-sense amendments into HB 1205 that will truly help protect consumers, while also allowing the consumer legal funding industry to continue to serve its thousands of consumers in Indiana.
So why has this even become an issue in the House and now the Senate in Indiana?
The answer is simple, as all roads lead to pressure being applied from the Washington, DC-based U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and large insurance company interests who are calling the shots from outside the Hoosier state.
Consumer legal funding serves citizens who are suddenly unable to work, usually those involved in a terrible automobile accident. It affords access to funding to pay for essential daily expenses such as rent, transportation, utilities or food while their legal claims are being settled. Insurance companies rely on those consumers who are struggling financially in hopes they can settle with that consumer for far less than the going rate.
You see, insurance corporations use a consumer’s accident and lack of financial security to force less-than-market-rate settlements. Relying on millions of data points as to the valuation of an injury, insurers have no incentive to settle quickly, except for well-below established injury values. 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.
We hope the members of the Indiana Senate consider common-sense amendments to HB-1205, which help preserve the vital services of consumer legal funding that so many citizens in Indiana rely upon. Unlike the House, who sided with large out-of-state insurance companies and Washington D.C. based lobby groups, we hope the Senate chooses local Indiana consumers and businesses.