Insurance giants are scrambling to figure out how they can compete in a new era of President Donald Trump, and the industry is already grappling with how to adapt.
| AP Photo Trump administration moves to make auto companies more accountable to consumers article Insurance companies are scrambling more than ever to cope with the Trump administration’s proposed regulations that would give them new legal rights to sue automakers.
| ReutersThe Trump administration on Thursday proposed sweeping regulations to make it easier for insurers to sue manufacturers in court, expand a law that lets them collect more money for claims, and make them more accountable for their claims.
The changes would also give insurers more power to cut off or terminate coverage for people who have been injured in accidents.
Insurers and some business groups are already taking aim at Trump and his administration over the proposed changes, calling them the latest attempt to roll back consumer protections.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is also set to be strengthened, with more staff and resources.
And the Department of Justice is looking into whether to investigate a class-action lawsuit filed by an auto insurer that alleged it was wrongly denied payments for injuries caused by a driver who crashed into a tractor trailer.
The Trump White House has also said it will try to push through its health care overhaul legislation this week without a public health overhaul, which would make it harder for insurers and health care providers to compete for patients.
Insurers are also worried about Trump’s plan to end an Obamacare requirement that they provide insurance to people who don’t meet the health requirements.
Insurance companies have been fighting this requirement, which they say makes them vulnerable to claims from people who are sick or are at high risk of being sick.
“The industry has been really on edge for some time,” said John R. Schoeneberger, executive vice president of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.
“And the idea that the Trump Whitehouse is going to go through with this, even though it’s not the most popular thing in the world, is not surprising.”
Insurers have been trying to adapt to the changes.
For instance, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Virginia said it is preparing to provide a health insurance plan that will cover all its employees and will have no deductibles or copays, and it has already been reviewing other plans.
But there are many more questions still to be answered.
The proposal to make insurers subject to a legal obligation to protect consumers from auto injuries is not the only change the Trump Administration is making.
On Thursday, the Trump National Security Council issued a memorandum calling on the executive branch to “support the development and implementation of a comprehensive set of federal regulatory tools that will enhance safety, reduce costs, and ensure the financial health of the private insurance market.”
It is the latest in a series of moves the White House is making to ease regulation of insurance companies.
The White House also announced the creation of a task force to “focus on the regulation of insurers and reinsurers,” which it said was designed to “enhance the ability of insurers to operate more efficiently and provide consumers with a better and more affordable insurance package.”
The National Association for Insurance Commissioners, the industry’s lobby, also said that “all members of the American public deserve a fair and transparent insurance market that is open and accessible to them, with choices that are fair, accessible, and affordable.”
The new regulations would also likely affect other industries.
Under the ACA, insurers are allowed to charge higher premiums to people with pre-existing conditions, but the industry says it has found no evidence of higher premiums resulting from those rules.
On Wednesday, the White, House and Republican Governors Association released a report titled “The Impact of a Regulatory Impact Assessment of the Affordable Care Act on Health Insurance,” which estimated that “a regulatory impact assessment would result in significant cost savings and improved consumer satisfaction for insurers in the near term.”
In addition, the report said that the “current regulatory framework for insurance does not adequately address the complex financial burdens for small businesses and consumers that result from the ACA.”