American Property Casualty Insurance Association
  • Staff Contact: Brooke Kelley     
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Brooke Kelley-Hunt







April 3, 2014

Say “No” to Double Taxation in South Carolina

COLUMBIA S.C. - As early as next week the St. Andrews Public Service District (Charleston County) and Dorchester County could implement a misguided system of charging motorists a fee when the public service district responds to an accident, according to the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America PCI.

The accident response fee proposal is a way to increase revenue for the public service district by charging fees that range from $300 to $1,000. The ordinance as drafted would charge only non-resident drivers through their insurance companies.

“With tight budgets, it’s understandable that local officials are looking for ways to increase revenue, but charging an additional fee for emergency services following an accident is not the answer,” said Oyango Snell, PCI’s regional manager. “Several nearby states have laws in place to stop local governments from charging accident response fees, because it’s unfair to the consumer and sends the message to visitors they are not welcome. Additionally, the fee could ultimately force the cost of insurance to increase”

A significant problem with this program is that it is a form of double taxation. Public safety is the primary duty of local government and firefighting services are already paid for through property and other local taxes. By billing for these services, the city imposes a hidden, double tax on consumers. By selectively charging non-residents it could also discourage people from visiting and shopping in the area as well as result in retaliatory fees from neighboring governments.

“As local government examines this issue we hope they will realize the crash tax just adds insult to injury by victimizing drivers twice – once by being in an unfortunate accident and then getting hit again with a fee,” said Snell.

PCI is composed of more than 1,000 member companies, representing the broadest cross-section of insurers of any national trade association. PCI members write over $195 billion in annual premium, 39 percent of the nation’s property casualty insurance. Member companies write 46 percent of the U.S. automobile insurance market, 32 percent of the homeowners market, 37 percent of the commercial property and liability market, and 41 percent of the private workers compensation market.