Dan Pero, president of the American Justice Partnership (AJP) recently welcomed the American Association of Managing General Agents (AAMGA) as a national partner of the AJP, a coalition of state and national groups dedicated to winning legal reform in the states.
"The AAMGA and Bernie Heinze are recognized leaders in national and state legal reform efforts and, with both U.S. and international members, the AAMGA brings a unique perspective to the AJP's efforts to restore predictability and fairness to our civil justice system," said Steve Hantler, AJP chairman and assistant general counsel of DaimlerChrysler Corporation. "The AAMGA's partnership with the AJP brings us another step closer to stopping lawsuit abuse in our courts."
The AAMGA is an international trade association comprised of wholesale property and casualty companies and agents in the insurance industry. Among its goals is to educate members, customers, judges, legislatures and regulators on the insurance industry's role in our society and economy; in essence, continually evaluating and balancing the risks and exposures of members, with the need to fairly compensate individuals for their losses. The AAMGA's membership totals approximately 500 broker companies who collectively write insurance policies annually totaling $16.4 billion in premiums.
"The judicial system must be based on fairness and equity," said Bernd G. Heinze, executive director of the American Association of Managing General Agents. "The insurance industry is on the front lines of this ongoing battle, and our partnership with the AJP will allow us to expand our knowledge about the areas where change is appropriate, the impact proposed legislation and new laws will have on the marketplace, and legislative events happening at the state as well as the national levels, so that we and our international members can strengthen our voice in the debate."
The AJP approach to legal reform is to work closely with its state and national partners, consistent with their missions and bylaws, to:
Develop public support for pro-reform candidates for governor, the state legislature, Supreme Court, and attorney general;
Enact pro-reform state legislation and adopt court rules that curb frivolous lawsuits; and,
Enhance public understanding about the importance of legal reform and the need to become more politically involved.
A united partnership approach with state chambers and manufacturing organizations, business groups and state legislatures has led to several pieces of legislation recently passing at the state level. Georgia, South Carolina, Mississippi and Ohio have seen bills passed in an effort to reign in the trial bar and create a more level playing field. These states have mounted campaigns that have resulted in successes for some of the following: eliminating joint and several liability, limiting liability for non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases, strengthening expert witness rules, reforming venues and allowing healthcare providers to offer an apology to a patient without fear of it being used against them in court, among other things.
Published November 1, 2005.