UPDATE: 07/28/08: Neil M. Cohen was hospitalized and placed in psychiatric care on July 24th, 2008 after investigators from the New Jersey Attorney General's office removed a state-issued computer from his office as part of an investigation into claims that the device had been used to store child pornography. Cohen resigned from the General Assembly on July 28th. It is presumed bill (A-1951) died along with his reputation.
02/26/08: Politician in Utter Denial
Trenton, NJ - Neil M. Cohen is sponsoring a bill (A-1951) to prohibit property and casualty insurers in New Jersey from altering a homeowner's insurance policy based on the specific breed of dog kept on the insured property. Cohen claims that increasing premiums or denying a homeowner coverage on the basis of dog ownership is "insurance discrimination" in its purest form.
According to Cohen, insurance companies across the country have adopted the practice of classifying certain breeds of dogs as "high-risk," with respect to insurance policies. As a result, homeowners in possession of a high-risk breed have seen their homeowner's insurance premiums drastically increase and, in some instances, have lost their coverage entirely.
This is basic insurance math and common sense.
Cohen seems to forget that motorcyclists pay more for insurance than car drivers due to the fact that motorcycle injuries are typically far more devastating than the other. One hardly hears the term "discrimination" when talking about motorcycles and cars. It ought not be thrown around when distinguishing the differences between dog breeds either.
Insurance companies assess risk. They understand the cost difference between a cocker spaniel bite and a pit bull bite because they pay the medical costs for these bites. If insurance companies are unable to assess risk properly -- and charge owners of high-risk dogs accordingly -- all dog owners will pay to cover the exorbitant medical costs that only a few breeds inflict.