gavel.gif (3462 bytes) PaTLA creates Auto Law Speakers' Material & Speakers' Bureau

Handouts & exhibits are designed
to educate consumers about important coverage choices.

PaTLA Past President Timothy A. Shollenberger and PaTLA President David L. Lutz have announced the creation of a statewide Auto Law Speakers’ Bureau to inform the public about their options when they buy auto insurance coverage for themselves and their families. According to Shollenberger, the mission of the Speakers’ Bureau is to create consumer awareness about "coverage tragedies" following auto accidents. Coverage tragedies happen when the amount of insurance coverage is inadequate in relation to the amount of the accident victim’s loss. "I am convinced that if the general public knew the facts, they would be far less likely to underinsure themselves and their families and that the number of coverage tragedies would be reduced," Shollenberger said.

Coverage tragedies can happen when an insured does not elect full tort coverage, and therefore limits his or her right to sue. Another coverage tragedy is when an insured rejects uninsured/underinsured coverage and/or does not select policy stacking (where more than one vehicle is owned by the insured), which provides better protection by adding together the amount of uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage that he or she buys for each vehicle on the policy.

Shollenberger cited a recent, real-life example of a man who was hit by a car while riding his motorcycle and was seriously injured. Unfortunately, the man did not buy sufficient underinsured motorist coverage and the other driver purchased only the minimum amount of bodily injury liability insurance. Underinsured motorist coverage is optional and pays for things like uncovered medical bills, unreimbursed lost wages, pain and suffering, effects of the injury on the quality of life, and non covered but anticipated loss of future earnings. In this case, the amount of underinsured motorist coverage that the man bought wasn’t enough to pay for his hospital bills, rehabilitation, and time out of work, Shollenberger said. Underinsured motorist coverage is relatively inexpensive, especially in comparison to the cost of collision coverage, Shollenberger said. "The victim told me that if he had known how important underinsured motorist coverage was, he would never have bought such a low amount of coverage," Shollenberger said.

The Auto Speakers’ Bureau was created to make consumers aware of all of the coverage options available when buying auto insurance and therefore get the most value for what they spend. "Every day, I hear from people I can’t help because they weren’t fully insured," Shollenberger said. "We can’t turn back the clock, but we can educate consumers so they can make better choices about the coverage they buy," he added.

Under the Auto Speakers’ Bureau individual PaTLA members will be responsible for scheduling a seminar with a community group, club or association, and then publicizing the seminar. PaTLA will provide handouts and exhibits without charge to members. The materials are written in everyday language and were developed by Shollenberger and Lutz. If a member does not wish to present the seminar or needs assistance, PaTLA will assign a member of its Board to participate, Shollenberger said. In order for PaTLA to be successful, the Auto Speakers’ Bureau needs volunteers, he said. "I invite every PaTLA member to participate," said Shollenberger. "With each presentation that we make, we will help prevent Pennsylvania consumers and their families from becoming unknowing victims of the next coverage tragedy."

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