West Virginia Insurance Federation
c/o Dinsmore & Shohl, LLP
Jill C. Rice
P.O. Box 11887
Charleston, WV 25301


Contact: Jill C. Bentz
October 5, 2005

Charleston, W.Va. - The insurance industry is keeping its promises to its customers and improving the business climate for West Virginia according to an announcement today made by the West Virginia Insurance Federation (WVIF).

"Faced with an insurance crisis early this year, West Virginia insurance customers and companies banned together to make changes to benefit all West Virginians," said Jill C. Bentz, executive director of the West Virginia Insurance Federation. "Governor Joe Manchin has been especially aggressive about insurance issues and the benefits are being demonstrated."

During the 2005 Legislative session, the West Virginia Legislature took steps to curtail frivolous lawsuits. Additionally, Governor Manchin elicited commitments from major insurance companies in the amount of $50 million in reductions as a result of legislative action that they anticipated would improve the insurance market.

"The industry recognized that rates were rising rapidly and carriers were leaving this market as a result of an imbalanced legal system," Bentz said. "It is clear the legislative initiatives are having favorable results as both the auto liability and homeowners markets are improving in West Virginia."

Since the law went into effect in July, the insurance industry has filed requests for more than $65 million in rate reductions for the state of West Virginia. "The insurance companies have not only kept their promises, they have exceeded them," Bentz said.

Earlier this week, West Virginia Insurance Commissioner Jane Cline made a presentation to the interim legislative committee on insurance availability and medical malpractice. During her presentation, Commissioner Cline noted that insurance companies had met the promises to reduce rates. She further confirmed that rate relief in West Virginia was directly attributable to this important legislative action rather than the result of the national downward trends.

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