The PIP Insurance threat
There seems to be a great deal of confusion among the rank-and-file ABATE Membership concerning what this PIP amendment to HB2454 means. I figured it might make sense to punch out a few comments that might be worth considering.1) Adding PIP (or any unrelated dead weight) to HB2454 is a bad idea on general principle. I fully support the efforts to get PIP removed from our bill. 2) In the real World, removing the PIP amendment from HB2454 may not be possible. So how do we make the best of a bad situation? 3) We should certainly be able to pick up a few more votes in the Legislature now that the "burden to society" issue has been neutralized. This may be just the little extra to get Gov. Kitz to not veto HB2454 and to not lose face when people ask why he didn't veto as he said he would. 4) PIP in and of itself is not a bad idea. In fact, the S.E. ABATE Chapter voted on this several months ago and the majority voted that looking into obtaining some type of group PIP insurance was a good idea. 5) The maximum payout on PIP is ~ $15,000. The annual exposure to the Insurance Industry as a result of implementing PIP for motorcycles is not all that large. Insurance Companies routinely pay many $10,000 - $20,000 annual "nuisance" claims just to avoid having to go to court even though everyone knows that the cases have no merit. 6) Based on Oregon accident data, we are probably only talking about a few hundred thousand dollars in Insurance Company PIP payouts each year. 7) I've heard the number 60,000 as the number of motorcycles registered in Oregon (don't know how accurate that is). At $50 per year in PIP premiums, times a pool of 60,000 motorcycles equals $3 million in revenue for the Insurance Companies. This means a *LOT* of profit to the Insurance Industry, even at a cost to Consumers of $50 per year (which is considerably more than auto PIP costs). I doubt that an additional $25 to $50 in insurance premiums is going to prevent anyone for riding. 8) Insurance Companies are motivated by business, competitive, legislative, ethical and public perception factors. The sky high PIP quotes that some of our Members are reporting is due to the fact that the Insurance Industry in Oregon (for whatever reasons) does not want to be in the PIP for motorcycles business and is not required to provide this coverage. Since there are plenty of other insurance options available to us, sky high PIP is no big deal to us right now. 9) If the State mandates PIP for motorcycles, the Insurance Industry spin doctors and beancounters are going to have to come up with an acceptably priced, competitive PIP insurance premium for a great many reasons. For example... I insure 3 cars, 3 motorcycles, my house and my life through one Agency. My Insurance Company is not going to want to piss me off by sending me a $2,400 per year PIP insurance bill. Imagine the bad press the Insurance Industry will get if the Oregonian runs a front page article about the $800 per year insurance premium boost to motorcyclists! You don't need to be a Rocket Scientist to see that the Insurance Industry is going to be highly motivated to provide mandated insurance at a reasonable cost. The notion that PIP insurance will price Bikers off of their rides is nothing more than hysteria. It just isn't going to happen, folks. 10) The State of Massachusetts is one of the highest insurance cost States in the Union. Basic motorcycle insurance, including PIP, costs $224 (for a 1997 bagger..smaller bikes, smaller premiums) which is considerably less than what I am paying right now in Oregon. I think that we can reasonably assume that nobody is going out of business because of PIP insurance payouts. 11) I realize that nobody is wild about the idea of having to pay more for insurance, even if the increase is only a couple of bucks. But consider this: Say we kill HB2454 because of PIP as BikePAC plans to. What's to stop the Legislature from mandating PIP for motorcycles next session "just because"? Not a damned thing! How would you like to spend next session fighting PIP *AND* not being able to ride helmetless? PIP is here to stay. We need to deal with it head on and not go cowering in a corner because "it might cost too much". 12) Adding a PIP amendment to future drives to repeal the helmet law is going to be our Enemies' silver bullet. But next time, in addition to PIP, they may use some of the other, even uglier amendments that our Brothers in other States have had to deal with. Killing HB2454 because of PIP virtually assures that Oregon Motorcyclists will never be able to legally ride without a helmet - ever! 13) Only a low grade Moron would believe the BikePAC scare tactics that PIP will cost between $600 and $1,000... PIP, if mandated, will cost between $20 and $40. You heard it here first! 14) We can win the helmet law fight this session. Of all of the possible amendments that could have been put onto HB2454, PIP is one of the least objectionable. Let's not run and hide because of PIP. Let's not show our enemies that we are weak. Let's dump the helmet law while we have the chance and before our enemies get more sophisticated in ways to get us to retract our own bill. We are never going to have a better chance than we have right now. 15) There has been a strong move to require a 2/3 vote in the Legislature to overturn any measure passed by a vote of the people. It is unlikely that we will ever be able to obtain a 2/3 vote in either the House of the Senate. Additionally, it is fairly unlikely that we will be able to obtain the signatures and support needed to overturn the helmet law in a general election vote. 16) Consider this: If we kill HB2454, why on Earth would anyone want to join ABATE?
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