Insurance Industry Behind Push for Florida Red Light Cameras

insurance industry behind push for florida red light cameras

The graduate of an insurance industry “boot camp” is behind efforts to legalize the use of red light cameras in Florida. State Representative Ron Reagan (R-Bradenton) twice attended the Insurance Campaign Institute, a special program designed to place insurance agents in positions of political power bankrolled by twenty insurance companies. “Essentially a political boot camp, the comprehensive political training program covers all facets of the campaign trail, from organization to grassroots strategies, fundraising, direct mail, advertising, media relations, public speaking, debate preparation, campaign research, and use of insurance community strength,” the Independent Insurance Agents of America explained in a 2001 press release. Reagan credits his 2002 Florida House victory to the Insurance Campaign Institute. To repay his industry backers, Reagan introduced the Mark Wandall Traffic Safety Act, a measure giving cities the green light to install red light cameras. Although the bill is portrayed as a response to the tragic death of a constituent in 2003, Reagan’s legislation is designed to create millions in new revenue for the insurance industry. And here’s how…

In Arizona, California, Colorado and Illinois certain types of photo tickets carry license points. Insurance companies in turn raise the annual rates of drivers who have these points on their license. In effect, the photo tickets generate free money because the extra premium is charged without the insurance company providing any additional services in return. Nothing in Florida law prevents insurance companies from raising the rates on the recipients of photo tickets in the dozens of unauthorized red light camera programs that have recently popped up around the state. Reagan, 54, must give up his state House seat at the end of the next session due to term limits. Reagan has made passage of the Mark Wandall Traffic Safety Act a top priority for his last term in office. I wonder what job awaits his retirement?

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  • Landcrusher Landcrusher on Nov 10, 2008

    Psar, I would expect the opposite of what you expect, when it comes to where the insurance guys really put their strongest efforts vs. where they publicly put there efforts. If claims rates go down, then the insurance companies have to reduce rates. Lowering claims is only good for a short boost. OTOH, increasing claims rates actually increases long term profits because they make money on the percentage difference, as well as on interest on the total pool. The bigger the better. Lastly, the real winner with these things is that by creating more "bad" drivers, they can raise rates on a minority of drivers. This could lead to less pressure to reduce rates by the majority. The insurance regulators might be less aggressive about how much the "bad" drivers pay, and certainly easier to deal with when grandma can more easily afford insurance because a few more careless drivers are getting nailed for higher rates.

  • M1EK M1EK on Nov 11, 2008

    Pch101, you are smoking crack if you think people who run the reds today are doing so because the yellows are too short, and would otherwise be completely law-abiding citizens. The parallel to speed limits is incredibly weak. Where I grew up, South Florida, they eventually had to go to longer and longer "all-red" cycles. Yes, people did adjust and ran later and later into the red.

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