Radically Dangerous No-Fault “Reform” Bill Passes Michigan Senate!
MAC and Our No-Fault Partner CPAN Closely Monitoring the Bill as It Moves Through the Legislative Process – Contact Your State Representative TODAY!
Yesterday, the Michigan Senate passed radically dangerous auto no-fault “reform” legislation, Senate Bill 1, a handout to the insurance industry that does not guarantee substantive rate relief to Michigan drivers. According to our partners at CPAN, the Coalition Protecting Auto No-Fault, the bill would “gut protections for auto accident survivors and all Michigan consumers, shift the cost of care from auto insurance companies to taxpayers, and do absolutely nothing to guarantee lower premiums or stop the discriminatory pricing practices of auto insurance companies.”
“Michigan residents are desperate for real relief from their auto insurance premiums,” said John Cornack, president of CPAN. “Instead, a group of senators are all too eager to strip away their protections and raise their taxes, while letting auto insurance companies continue to charge exorbitant rates with little to no oversight of their discriminatory practices. SB1 is a great deal if you’re an auto insurance company CEO. It’s a bad deal if you are anyone else.”
Despite the fact that Michigan’s auto insurance industry is weakly regulated compared to other states, SB1 does nothing to increase protections for consumers:
- It does not prohibit the insurance industry’s discriminatory practice of setting rates based on non-driving factors like gender, job title or ZIP code.
- It does not move Michigan from a “file and use” system – where insurance companies can set rates with little oversight – to a “prior approval” system, where rate increases would have to be approved by the state.
- It does not include a fair fraud authority that cracks down on fraud in all aspects of the no-fault system, including insurance companies that deny and delay legitimate claims.
In addition, SB1 would likely represent a hidden tax increase on all Michigan residents. By gutting no-fault benefits and protections, more victims would be forced into medical bankruptcy and onto state Medicaid. That cost would be passed onto the taxpayer – a 2017 analysis by the House Fiscal Agency found that a similar plan would increase Michigan’s Medicaid cost by $150 million.
The bill now moves to the Michigan House of Representatives, where it has been referred to the Select Committee on Reducing Car Insurance Rates. In a statement after the Senate passed the bill, Governor Gretchen Whitmer vowed to veto it if it reaches her desk as is, saying: “Today’s action by the Senate creates more problems than it solves. It preserves a corrupt system where insurance companies are allowed to unfairly discriminate in setting rates and the only cuts it guarantees are to drivers’ coverage… I am only interested in signing a reform bill that is reasonable, fair and protects consumers and this is not it. If this bill comes to my desk, I will veto it.”