CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) – South Carolina lawmakers plan to track prices and the state of the insurance industry with the potential to create regulations for the field.

Sen. Sandy Senn (R-Charleston) says she and Judiciary Chair Luke Rankin (R-Horry) each individually reached out to the Department of Insurance at the end of last year’s session with major concerns about rising costs. They want to form a study committee dedicated to tracking those costs.

“Of course, we’ve been getting a lot of complaints from bars, restaurants, VFW, different places like that that serve alcohol and they’re very upset about their insurance costs which have just skyrocketed, and we understand those problems,” Senn says.

Since its passage in 2017, a law requires Liquor Liability Insurance for establishments that sell alcoholic drinks. While most lawmakers voted for the bill, many now admit rising costs to small businesses are becoming an issue. Senn says that is just the tip of the insurance affordability iceberg in South Carolina.

“What we are learning now is this is not just bars and restaurants. The insurance for homeowners along the coast has just absolutely skyrocketed,” Senn says. “The federal government even is trying to increase the cost for FEMA flood insurance.”

That’s why she is determined to get to the bottom of the rising rates. She says people have reached out to her office with a myriad of issues in the past year.

“I’ve been getting phone calls from constituents who are very upset because they have solar panels on their roofs and the insurance companies, some of them are declining coverage, not just increasing coverage, declining and taking away insurance coverage. And they actually were supposed to get federal and state income tax credit for that,” she says. “The problem is now, it may be that the credit is worthless if you’re having to spend so much more on insurance.”

Since insurance is necessary and so often required, Senn says this is an issue that may need regulating. While a study committee would not immediately mean changes to the industry or establish regulations by the end of the year, Senn says it’s a start and she has some ideas for improvement.

“If you want to write insurance in the state of South Carolina, you need to write it all,” Senn says.

She says that’s one idea to ensure that companies can’t choose to offer only the profitable types of insurance coverage; instead, they would have to offer full coverage services across the board. She believes this could create more plan options for consumers, making it affordable.

“So this is an insurance statewide problem, not just bars and restaurants,” Senn says.

She hopes the creation of a study committee this year can create a data-driven report about the industry that could guide solutions going forward. Senn says people are always welcome to reach out to her and her team about their personal experiences on issues like this to guide her work at the statehouse.