FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Contact: Amanda Edwards
I & E Insurance Agency
(Point Pleasant, NJ - Nov 28 2017)
New Governor enhanced probability of Legalized Pot, Collateral damage may ensue.
Recent elections have given NJ a decidedly more liberal and Progressive Governor who has stated on many occasions that he intends to raise taxes, and make pot legal. But the issues are not as simple as that. Be careful what you wish for---attached full article published on the Patch.com 11/28/2017
NJ Pot Legalization Could Jack Up Car Insurance Rates, Study Says
You could be paying more for car insurance if marijuana use is legalized in New Jersey.
By Tom Davis, Patch Staff | Nov 28, 2017 1:12 pm ET | Updated Nov 28, 2017 1:28 pm ET
Legalizing recreational marijuana use has led to higher car insurance claims and rates in three states, so don't be surprised if the same happens in New Jersey, a new report says.
New Jersey car insurers could be facing more insurance claims and higher rates if marijuana legalization happens, according to a new report from the Highway Loss Data Institute.
Governor-elect Phil Murphy and state lawmakers have said they would like to push through pot legalization within the first 100 days of his administration. The law could officially take effect by 2019 once the state Department of Health and other agencies craft the new regulations.
The HLDI analysis shows collision claims are about 3 percent higher in Colorado, Oregon and Washington than they would have been expected without legalization. More drivers admit to using marijuana, and it's showing up more frequently among people involved in crashes, according to the report.
The end result is car insurers are paying more as the claims go up, according to Russ Rader, senior vice president of communications for the consumer watchdog group. While he didn't have specific numbers on rate increases, Rader says the report shows that "all signals are red" that states legalizing marijuana face more claims and, as a result, higher rates.
"This report should give other states pause," he said.
Christine O'Brien, president of the Insurance Council of New Jersey, wasn't ready to agree with the report's findings, but she agreed that New Jersey could face "different levels of impairment" if marijuana is legalized. That could impact the number of crashes and the way people drive, she said.
"We are tentatively watching the debate," she said.
Insure.com says New Jersey has the 14th highest car insurance rates in the country. Value Penguin, a consumer data website, said these companies offer these average rates in the state:
· AAA / Western United Insurance $1,187
· New Jersey Skylands $1,213
· Farmers / Mid-Century Insurance $1,301
· Norfolk & Dedham / Fitchburg Mutual $1,443
The report notes there is evidence from simulator and on-road studies that marijuana can degrade some aspects of driving performance, but researchers haven't been able to definitively connect marijuana use with more crashes.
Colorado and Washington were the first states to legalize recreational marijuana for adults age 21 and older with voter approval in November 2012. Retail sales began in January 2014 in Colorado and in July 2014 in Washington. Oregon voters approved legalized recreational marijuana in November 2014, and sales started in October 2015.
HLDI conducted a combined analysis using neighboring states as additional controls to examine the collision claims experience of Colorado, Oregon and Washington before and after law changes.
Control states included Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Utah and Wyoming, plus Colorado, Oregon and Washington prior to legalization of recreational use. During the study period, Nevada and Montana permitted medical use of marijuana, Wyoming and Utah allowed only limited use for medical purposes, and Idaho didn't permit any use. Oregon and Washington authorized medical marijuana use in 1998, and Colorado authorized it in 2000.
Data spanned collision claims filed between January 2012 and October 2016 for 1981 to 2017 model vehicles. Analysts controlled for differences in the rated driver population, insured vehicle fleet, the mix of urban versus rural exposure, unemployment, weather and seasonality.