Kicking And Honking

How powerful is the insurance industry in Colorado?

Earlier in the week Sen. Lois Tochtrop, D-Thornton, announced plans to discard a bill that would have required auto-insurance policies to have $50,000 in additional medical coverage for drivers.

Tochtrop was the sponsor of the measure and said she would later submit a more water downed version of the proposal, after facing pressure and exaggerations from the insurance industry.During a hearing with Senate Local Government committee-the only hearing where the bill was discussed-two representatives from State Farm Insurance spoke in opposition to the bill, with one being a registered lobbyist.

Veteran lobbyist William Imig with Allstate also spoke against the bill, while 7 others spoke in favor of it.

Before that, the Farmers Insurance Employee and Agent Political Action Committee (PAC) gave $400 to Tochtrop’s campaign in September, according to Secretary of State records. 

During the same month, Political Works LLC, a lobbying firm employed by Progressive Auto Insurance, gave $200. Lobbyist Michael Feeley, who represents the Colorado Insurance Coalition, also gave $200.

According to government records, Political Works was actively lobbying against the bill, along with Farmers Insurance and the Colorado Insurance Coalition.

Erin Rosa was born in Spain and raised in Colorado Springs. She is a freelance writer currently living in Denver. Rosa's work has been featured in a variety of news outlets including the Huffington Post, Democracy Now!, and the Rocky Mountain Chronicle, an alternative-weekly in Northern Colorado where she worked as a columnist covering the state legislature. Rosa has received awards from the Society of Professional Journalists for her reporting on lobbying and woman's health issues. She was also tapped with a rare honorable mention award by the Newspaper Guild-CWA's David S. Barr Award in 2008--only the second such honor conferred in its nine-year history--for her investigative series covering the federal government's Supermax prison in the state. Rosa covers the labor community, corrections, immigration and government transparency matters. She can be reached at

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