A Senate-backed tort reform bill that supporters say will lower auto insurance premiums is heading to the House floor after getting approval from the House Civil Law Committee. Democrats are skeptical, but River Ridge Senator Kirk Talbot says his legislation that requires insurance companies to reduce rates by 10%.

“Not one insurance company has come and put in a red card and said we like the bill, but we don’t like the 10% rate reduction, not one,” said Talbot.

Talbot says auto insurance companies will be able to reduce rates because the legislation makes several changes to the state’s civil justice system. Talbot says one of the provisions would lower the jury threshold from $50,000 to $5,000.

“Every state that has a zero jury trial threshold has a lower insurance rate than us,” said Talbot.

Talbot says lowering the jury trial threshold will help settle cases for a more reasonable amount.

Democrats would rather see laws passed that would prevent a person’s credit score, gender, or marital status from determining a person’s auto insurance rates. But Talbot argues that will not lower premiums.

“All that does is shift the cost, it’s like squeezing a ballon, if you squeeze the ballon on one side, the other side gets higher,” said Talbot.

(Story written by Jeff Palermo/Louisiana Radio Network)