Repairer Driven News
« Back « PREV Article  |  NEXT Article »

Illinois Insurance Committee chair receives income from insurance brokers

By on
Insurance | Legal
Share This:

The Chicago Sun-Times is raising concerns about the recent business partnership the Illinois Senate’s Insurance Committee chairman has made with two men who run an insurance brokerage firm called Maxx Group. 

As a “gatekeeper on legislation affecting the multi-billion-dollar insurance industry,” the newspaper questions if the partnership is a conflict of interest. The newspaper also went on to describe the role as one that can affect industry profits and regulations along with consumer pocketbooks. 

Sen. Napoleon Harris III (D-District 15), a former NFL player, told the newspaper he didn’t see any conflict of interest in what he called a “new business venture.”

“This was an opportunity to support a local business run by two area guys with longstanding impeccable credentials in the field,” Harris told the newspaper via text message. “These are people I’ve known for years. They’ve helped me out with my own insurance needs well before I arrived in the Senate. My role is that of an investor. None of this bears any relationship to my work in Springfield. If you look at the results, it is clear the Insurance Committee has been about improving the industry for consumers.”

The newspaper says Harris revealed outside income that he received from Maxx Group while filing a required economic interest statement with the state in May.

Harris wouldn’t answer specific questions about the investment, the newspaper says. 

Outside of income, Harris received campaign donations from Maxx Group in 2022 and 2023 totaling $2,500, the newspaper says state records show. He also has accepted at least $60,000 overall from the insurance industry since the beginning of last year, it says. 

“That includes $10,000 from the Allstate Insurance Co., $7,500 from State Farm Insurance, $6,000 from Cigna, and $1,500 from the political arm of the Illinois Life & Health Insurance Council that had been involved in talks over [Gov. J.B.] Pritzker’s legislation this year,” the Chicago Sun-Times said. 

Illinois Senate President Don Harmon has also received campaign money from the insurance industry including more than $100,000 from Allstate and State Farm and more than $10,000 from Illinois Life & Health Insurance Council, the article says.

The state’s insurance rates increased by more than $1.25 billion in 2023, following a more than $1 billion increase the year before, according to an analysis from the consumer advocacy group Illinois PIRG Education Fund.

The analysis reviewed more than 300 rate filings by the 10 largest car insurers in the state, a January press release said. The insurers represent 81% of the auto insurer market in Illinois.

“This is the second consecutive year of rate increases of more than a billion dollars,” the release said. “Since 2022, top car insurance companies have raised Illinois rates by almost $2.4 billion.”

State Farm and Allstate, including subsidiaries, raised rates the most by $364 million and $210 million in 2023. The companies increased rates by $753 million and $439 million since 2022, the release said. Both companies are headquartered in the state. 

Illinois is one of two states that does not allow regulators to reject or modify auto insurance rate increases, the release said. Bills to create a review process on insurance rate hikes have failed to make it through the legislature in the last two sessions. 

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) recently reported the motor vehicle insurance index rose 1.8% in April following a 2.6% increase in March. Auto insurance was mentioned as an item that notably increased by 22.6% over the past year. 

Multiple media agencies have reported it as the largest annual increase for auto insurance since 1979.   

As insurers raise premiums, collision repair shops have simultaneously noted an increase in consumer responsibility for out-of-pocket expenses due to short payments.

Despite a continual rise in insurance costs, an online survey conducted by Opus IVS found 33% of 3,000 collision repair shops experienced problems with receiving proper insurance reimbursements. 

Insurance also remained one of the top industries that spent money on lobbying in 2023. It only trailed behind the pharmaceutical and electronics manufacturing industries, according to data released by Statista.


Photo courtesy of rarrarorro/iStock

Share This: