Thursday, October 28th, 2020

Baton Rouge, Louisiana


 Like most of you, I’ve had my fill of political ads and trial lawyer solicitations that seem to be constantly appearing on TV.  But you know what bothers me even more? I’m sick of seeing that goofy commercial of some dumb and disheveled looking guy talking to an ostrich.  “You only pay for what you need,” so it goes.  So just how much automobile insurance do you really need?

Let’s say you’re driving down the road with your family in the car and are broadsided by an illegal immigrant with no insurance. There are many such unlicensed drivers in Louisiana today. The other driver is at fault. Your car is totaled, and both you and the other passengers in your vehicle are seriously injured. The medical bills alone could add up to hundreds of thousands of dollars. And what about pain and suffering as well as loss of income. We’re now talking into the millions. Let’s ask the stupid guy with the mustache and his ostrich friend. How much do you need?

Year in and year out, Louisiana drivers pay more for auto insurance than any other state in the nation.  So the real question is not how much you need, but just how much you can afford?  The cost to many policyholders is staggering.  The Louisiana Legislature just completed a wide-ranging special session.  Yet there was not one proposal or even a discussion about the outrageous cost of car insurance.  Like the ostrich in the TV commercial, legislators stuck their heads in the sand and ignored the problem that is costing Louisiana drivers more than three billion dollars (not million but billion) in additional costs.  And most of that additional premium is sent to insurance companies located outside the state.  So local disposal income and spending is reduced by this three billion dollars.

Drivers in Louisiana need major financial coverage for all the dangers of driving a vehicle in the Bayou State.  But the failure of the legislature to see that current laws are enforced, and that penalties for dangerous driving ae increased, makes affordable insurance way out of reach for the average policyholder.

Louisiana’s insurance mess is the result of numerous factors that include poor drivers, lax DUI enforcement, inferior highways, speeding, and substandard insurance regulation. So when you see the TV ads with the ostrich and the weird insurance salesman, remember that what you need in Louisiana is a heck of a lot more than most of us can afford.


I also wanted to let my readers know that we lost one of my favorite musical performers last week. Jerry Jeff Walker passed away at 78 years old. You don’t know this but I was the Louisiana president of the Jerry Jeff fan club. Jerry Jeff was a Texas country outlaw singer who spent a good bit of time and performed numerous concerts all over Louisiana. He teamed up with the likes of Waylon Jennings, David Allan Coe, Billy Joe Shaver, and Kinky Friedman. His biggest hit was a Louisiana song called “Mr. Bojangles,” about an old street performer in New Orleans.

 My first Jerry Jeff concert was in 1982 at Armadillo World in Austin, a country music venue that held concerts nightly with an atmosphere something like the Flora-Bama beach bar in Gulf Shores, Alabama. There was a sign-up sheet to receive Jerry Jeff’s newsletter and become a member of his fan club. Of course, I joined up.

A few days later, his assistant called to say Jerry Jeff was looking for a president of his fan club in Louisiana. I was secretary of state at the time, but I could always find a few moments to perform my fan club duties for a musical favorite. How could I turn down the author and singer of the southern anthem “Up Against the Wall Redneck Mother?” When he performed in the Bayou State, I was usually in that number, and his staff always saw that I had a front row seat. It was obvious I had handled my responsibilities well. We will sure miss Jerry Jeff.

Peace and Justice

Jim Brown

Jim Brown’s syndicated column appears each week in numerous newspapers throughout the nation and on websites worldwide.  You can read all his past columns and see continuing updates at http://www.jimbrownusa.com.



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