Michigan Governor Signs Overhaul to Cut High Auto Premiums

May 30, 2019

U.S. News

Associated Press

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has signed into law an overhaul of Michigan‘s car insurance system that will let drivers forego unlimited medical benefits to cover crash injuries.

The Democratic governor signed the bill Thursday at the Detroit Regional Chamber’s policy conference on Mackinac Island. She was joined by lawmakers and Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan.

Whitmer says it’s a “historic day” because the cost of auto insurance will go down.

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Detroit Regional Chamber’s Core Principles on Auto Insurance Reform

With auto insurance debates heating up in Lansing, the Detroit Regional Chamber is highly involved in the discussions working with bipartisan legislators and the governor’s office. The Chamber membership and Board are united in the recognition that the high cost of auto insurance is a critical issue that impacts our state’s economic development, talent attraction, and citizen well-being, and must be addressed.

The Chamber is eager to support legislation that meets the following criteria:

  • Result in a statewide and quantifiable reduction in auto insurance rates.
  • Recognize that rate reduction must be even greater in urban areas. Even a 20% reduction in urban areas leaves auto insurance unaffordable for low-income residents.
  • Reduce the number of uninsured drivers through rate reduction and increased mobility options for low-income residents.
  • Maintain Michigan’s high-quality health care delivery system.
  • Reduce insurance related fraud.

Detroit Regional Chamber Reform Vision

Auto insurance is a statewide issue that demands to be addressed. While our membership does not have a consensus view regarding detailed solutions, the Chamber supports the following core principles.

  • Reform should provide additional oversight of attendant care, particularly when delivered by relatives of the injured.
  • Michigan should pursue insurance fraud at all levels through a strong fraud authority or another enforcement mechanism.
  • Any proposed regulation of reimbursement rates should consider:

– The impact on motorists requiring catastrophic care, particularly care in trauma centers.

– The ability of health care providers to provide quality care.

– The need to lower rates for drivers across geographic, socioeconomic, and other demographic factors.

– Michigan’s insurance rates are high across the state, however, drivers in urban areas are disproportionately impacted. Reviewing the factors that cause high rates should be a special focus of policymakers.

  • Uninsured drivers in high-cost areas, like the city of Detroit, are left with few alternatives to driving illegally because of the region’s lack of effective and efficient public transportation. The number of uninsured drivers is a key component of insurance costs and the region’s consistent failure to provide mobility options has exacerbated the problem.

The Chamber Board endorsed these principles in 2017. The Chamber’s Government Relations team urges that all impacted parties must be at the table and compromise equally – there is no one single aspect of this challenge that can solve this problem – or can escape reform.

Whitmer threatens to veto any auto insurance reform bill that ‘preserves a corrupt system’

May 9, 2019

MLive

Malachi Barrett

[…]

Ananich said Senate Democrats are ready build a bill that passes the governor’s desk.

“I think we could announce something on the porch of the Grand Hotel at the Mackinac Policy Conference if people are serious about finding a solution,” he said. “If it’s just about jamming something through and trying to play a game of chicken with the governor, it’s unfortunate, but I think there’s an actual path here for the first time.”

Meanwhile, Michigan Republican Party Chair Laura Cox accused Whitmer of playing “partisan games.” In a Thursday statement, Cox said Whitmer is unwilling to compromise with the GOP-led Michigan legislature.

“The ball is still in the legislature’s court,” Whitmer said. “They can either negotiate in good faith and send me a bill that actually protects consumers while we also continue to negotiate a budget that fixes the damn roads, or they can send one of the current bills to me … and we can start all over again.”

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‘Smart Politics’ examined

May 8, 2019

Grosse Pointe News

Melissa Walsh

With the annual Mackinac Policy Conference a month away, a sizable crowd recently showed up at The Whiskey Six to discuss issues they would like to see resolved by the state.

Host of WDET’s Detroit Today Stephen Henderson launched the station’s 2019 series of “Smart Politics” discussions at the City venue Thursday evening, April 25.

With him were Deadline Detroit news reporter and Woods resident Nancy Derringer and PBS’s Great Lakes Now program director and Park resident Sandi Svoboda.

The event began with WDET Program Director Joan Isabella chatting with audience members as she collected questions they wrote on Post-it notes for the panel.

Though diverse opinions and conflicting statements were made from the panel and audience on several topics during the event, an early comment from a member of the audience sent the crowd into shared laughter. Pointing to an 8-foot by 6-foot image of Prohibition-era bootleggers standing next to a cargo truck stuck in Lake St. Clair ice, he said, “Can we all just agree that this photo is just timeless?”

The humor set a friendly tone that continued throughout the discussion — that in many ways Detroiters share a common appreciation for the area’s history.

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