Smartphones responsible for rising insurance rates

Charlotte Injury Lawyer Matt Arnold answers the question: “How much time do I have to file a claim for my personal injuries after an accident?”


For those who own automobiles, you’ve likely been met with bad news when you opened your recent renewal letters. Insurance companies say that rates across the country have been on the rise, reversing years of declines. What’s the reason for the increase? Most experts say that there is a clear link between increases in insurance rates and the prevalence of smartphones. The personal electronics are now so commonplace and can be so distracting that the number of auto accidents, injuries and deaths are rising, leading to a corresponding rise in the rate that ordinary people must pay to insure their vehicles.


Cell-phone-keypad-Charlotte-Injury-Lawyer-300x225A study was recently commissioned by State Farm, which found that more than a third of all drivers admit to texting behind the wheel. Another 30% say that they surf the web while driving, a dramatic rise from previously known levels. Throw in email, music, entertainment, social media and increasingly elaborate mapping apps and you’ve got a recipe for a dangerously distracted driver.


The multitude of distractions that drivers face today appear to be taking their toll. After years of declining accident rates, the number of injury-causing collisions has risen now for the second year in a row. In fact, vehicle deaths last year rose about 8%. Adding insult to injury, rising healthcare costs means that the costs associated with accident claims are increasing further still.


All these accidents have meant years of higher than anticipated claims for auto insurers. The insurers, under pressure from investors on Wall Street, are now trying to share the pain and are doing so by increasing rates. For a good glimpse into how things have changed, consider the following numbers from Bloomberg. A decade ago, the insurance industry was paying around 95 cents in claims for every $1 in premium revenue. Today, the industry pays around $1.05 in costs for every $1 in premiums, a big problem from a business perspective.


Insurers are now trying to solve that problem by increasing premiums. The pace of increases has hit a 13-year high, according to the Department of Labor. States have even begun to balk, saying they’re concerned that drivers may be priced out of insurance, increasing the likelihood that drivers simply give up entirely and become uninsured. Some states, like California, are even considering creating a low-cost insurance program for those with low incomes unable to afford normal commercial auto insurance.


Though smartphones have been around for a long time, the abundance of distracting apps have caused accidents to balloon in recent years. The President of Allstate has said that the correlation between smartphone ownership and accident frequency is disturbing. Another insurer, Cincinnati Financial, has said they’ve noticed a rise in accidents with “no skid marks”, meaning the driver had little to no reaction. All this makes clear just how serious a problem smartphones pose, both from a safety perspective and, increasingly, from a financial one.


If you or someone close to you has been injured, contact an experienced personal injury attorney today who can help you receive the compensation to which you may be entitled. Contact Arnold & Smith, PLLC for a free consultation, call at 704-370-2828 or click here for additional resources.


About the Author

Matt Matthew Arnold is a Managing Member of Arnold & Smith, PLLC, where he focuses on the areas of family law, divorce, child custody, child support, alimony and equitable distribution.

Mr. Arnold was raised in Charlotte, where he graduated from Providence Senior High School. He attended Belmont Abbey College, where he graduated cum laude, before attending law school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on a full academic scholarship.

A board-certified specialist in the practice of Family Law, Mr. Arnold is admitted to practice in all state courts in North Carolina, in the United States Federal Court for the Western District of North Carolina, in the North Carolina Court of Appeals and Supreme Court, and in the Fourth Circuit United States Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia.

In his free time, Mr. Arnold enjoys golfing and spending time with his wife and three children.





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