Plaquemine Democrat Chad Brown will serve as the chairman of the House insurance committee, a panel expected to be very busy during the session with bills aimed at lowering auto insurance rates. Brown expects to tackle insurance companies’ consideration of a driver’s credit.

“It’s always been an issue on whether there is a true correlation between credit scores or credit information and claims history and is it appropriate to use it in the rate-making,” said Brown.

Alexandria Senator Jay Luneau has filed legislation that would prevent insurance companies from calculating insurance rates based on credit score.

A recent study found that Louisiana drivers roughly pay $2,300 a year on auto insurance, second highest in the nation to Michigan.

Brown says there are several ideas on how to lower rates, some companies factor whether a person is a widow.

“And that widow may not have the same claims history or credit built up that the spouse had before they died,” said Brown.

Republican lawmakers are expected to push legislation that would lead to fewer car accident cases going before juries by extending the amount of time a person has to sue after a wreck. The hope is that this will lead to lower judgements that auto insurance companies have the pay and the savings would eventually trickle down to the consumer.

Brown says he doesn’t see a path to lowering insurance rates as being one-sided or partisan.

“I see factors on both the regulatory side and litigation side that have some merit to it and will have to be flushed out,” said Brown.

The legislative session begins March 9th.