2/17/2008Alabama: Insurance Company Pushes for Ticket Camera Points
Major Alabama insurance company insists on the ability to raise rates with red light camera tickets.
An Alabama-based insurance company opposes a legislative provision that would authorize red light cameras but deny insurance companies the ability to use photo tickets to increase profit. A bill introduced by state Representative Robert Bentley (R-Tuscaloosa) would legalize traffic cameras in Alabama but specifically prohibit the use of these tickets to raise the insurance rates of motorists.
"A violation... shall not be used by any insurance company to determine or affect the availability of insurance or the premiums or rates paid for insurance," House Bill 24 states.
This has infuriated Alfa Insurance, which holds about one million insurance policies primarily in Alabama. The company convinced the state House County and Municipal Government Committee to postpone consideration of Bentley's bill until an amendment could be drafted to strike the offending language.
"Currently running a red light is a moving violation and can only be assessed to the person," Alfa spokesman Jeff Helms told the Tuscaloosa News. "A person running a red light should be treated the same whether it's a camera or a police officer is sitting there and sees it."
As a regional insurance company, Alfa's position differs significantly from national organizations such as AAA and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), which are the top promoters of photo enforcement throughout the country. AAA and the parent companies of IIHS enjoy hundreds of millions in additional revenue from the license points assessed on photo tickets in California, Arizona and Illinois. These organizations are content with laws authorizing point-free use of photo enforcement as they help increase the acceptance of the automated ticketing concept. Alfa does not operate in any state that authorizes points for photo tickets.