The chair of the House Select Committee on Reducing Car Insurance Rates unveiled a new website to keep people informed about the panel’s progress in reforming Michigan’s no-fault auto insurance.
The site, www.ReduceMiRatesNow.com, also gives Michigan drivers a chance to tell their stories about the effect costly car insurance has had on their lives. Such stories will help the bipartisan committee shape legislation to reduce Michigan’s sky-high automobile insurance costs.
“It is essential to hear from the very people affected by the highest car insurance rates in the nation,” said state Rep. Jason Wentworth, R-Clare, who chairs the committee. “While the committee is solely tasked with crafting real, lasting reforms to the state’s controversial no-fault insurance system, any solution we provide together must better serve the interests of all Michiganders. We want drivers involved in this process to provide us with their stories, experiences and ideas to help us craft a genuine solution.”
Included on the new website is a tab allowing people to keep up to date with developments and the committee’s meeting schedule. Wentworth said ideas submitted by people would go directly to the committee, ensuring every submission will be considered.
According to the website, insurance.com reports the average annual insurance rate for Michigan drivers is $2,239 compared to the average U.S. rate of $1,365. Annual rates for other Great Lakes states are $1,223 in Illinois, $1,215 in Minnesota, $1,091 in Indiana and $944 in Ohio.
One of the elements of Michigan’s no-fault system is the cost of medical care, also known as personal injury protection, which has risen from 6 percent of auto insurance policies before no-fault was adopted in 1972 to 42 percent of the cost in today’s insurance policy, according to Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan said in a recent Detroit Free Pressarticle.
Duggan blamed the inequity in medical costs on medical care providers, who can charge higher prices that are paid for by auto insurance, and on trial lawyers who are increasingly soliciting clients who have been in accidents and suing insurance companies over medical bills.
No-fault reform was a key legislative issue last session but never made it out of the House. An 11th-hour effort to revive reform during the 22-hour lame duck session in December failed to gain the needed support as well.
In addition to Wentworth, committee member are state Reps. Daire Rendon, R-Lake City; Donna Lasinski, D-Scio Township; Lynn Afendoulis, R-Grand Rapids Township; Kyra Bolden, D-Southfield; Ben Frederick, R-Owosso; Beau LaFave, R-Iron Mountain; Terry Sabo, D-Muskegon; and Karen Whitsett, D-Detroit.