Auto insurance companies do not have to cut the premiums for drivers

Illinois PIRG is wrong in its analysis of what happened to the Illinois auto insurance market as the pandemic spread across the state.

Those calling for additional offers are only looking at the short term when traffic is down due to COVID-related restrictions. This is not how insurance rates work, because insurers and regulators always look at long-term trends that affect driving and loss.

2020 was pretty cool. Focusing only on 2020 misses the big picture of long-term trends.

For example, the Illinois state insurance ratio – which measures the loss of income and insurance premiums in relation to the insurance premiums collected – shows that 2020 is independent of what shows that rates have increased beyond the pre-pandemic.

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This shows that insurers continue to pay more for claims losses and premiums. This is ongoing and cannot be ignored.

A closer look at road traffic data shows that once the epidemic began, miles driven dropped significantly and insurers responded. However, the number of miles driven quickly returned to pre-epidemic levels.

In addition, driving habits have changed since the outbreak began, and data shows that dangerous habits – such as speeding, not wearing seat belts and drunk driving – have emerged and are continuing.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s 2020 traffic accident report shows that 38,824 people have died in crashes worldwide, the most since 2007.

In Illinois, the death rate rose 18.3% from 2019 to 2020, an increase of more than 2½ times the national rate of 6.8%.

When the pandemic began, auto insurers understood the need to help businesses and individuals recover and were quick to respond by putting $14 billion into the hands of consumers through reimbursements and other assistance.

It is important to consider everything, not just one year, or to exclude long-term trends that are forcing car repairs and medical expenses.

Lynne McChristian, director, Office of Risk Management & Insurance Research, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Monitor for Hepatitis C infection

World Hepatitis Day is July 28. This month, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois is partnering with healthcare partners to highlight this hidden epidemic by raising awareness of the most common blood-borne disease in the United States.

The number of cases of Acute Hepatitis C (HCV) reported in the US increased each year during 2012-2019, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The highest rates occurred in people ages 20-39, consistent with the age groups most affected by the nation’s opioid crisis.

HCV is one type of viral infection that spreads through blood to blood between people. It is widely spread by sharing medical needles. Most people with HCV are asymptomatic, but without treatment for many years, infected people develop liver disease or liver cancer. Although Hepatitis C is on the rise, the good news is that with testing, early detection and treatment, it can be cured for most people.

Talk to your doctor about getting tested for HCV. World Hepatitis Day it’s a timely reminder for everyone to talk to their health care provider. Getting tested is the only way to know if you have HCV. CDC now they encourage All adults are tested as a form of reinforcement.

If you get tested, full recovery is possible with the right treatment. Some people who test positive recover, and medication is known to cure most patients within eight to 12 weeks. More than half of those infected have chronic, treatable disease.

Safety starts with reducing your risk. Although there is no vaccine for HCV, the best way to prevent infection is to avoid risky behaviors, such as drug use. Sharing needles, syringes or other injecting equipment is the most common way to get HCV. The virus is also spread through sex with an infected person or through unsanitary needles and body piercings in unlicensed or unsanitary locations. It is not transmitted from an infected mother during childbirth or through breast milk.

Hepatitis C can be prevented through preventive measures and early detection. Your goodness cannot wait. Talk to your healthcare provider today – it could save your life.

Derek Robinson, MD, vice president and chief medical officer, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois

Make defense in Chicago a priority

Mayor Lori Lightfoot approved NASCAR racing in the city. I agree that this will be good. It is important for a city like Chicago to continue to innovate to keep it strong and progressive. The NFL Draft, the NATO Summit, keeping sports teams in the city, upgrading to O’Hare Airport, are all examples.

But when we read almost daily about Chicagoans being killed or injured by guns, and the mayor is silent but has plenty of time to announce the NASCAR race, I ask: Where are his priorities?

The safety and security of residents requires just as much, if not more, time and effort as bringing in new entertainment or businesses. It would be good to see the mayor hold regular press conferences on security issues. Maybe his advisors will tell him to prioritize it too.

Howard Herman, Skokie

NASCAR is another thing the city doesn’t need

It would be hard for me to imagine making our beautiful Chicago Loop less inviting to tourists than our recurring incidents of vandalism, gun violence and 2 a.m. races. A West Loop casino with its drug addiction, and NASCAR with its noise and air pollution, can. What did I miss?

Kathryn Williams, Chicago