Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey, R-Clarklake, and House Speaker Lee Chatfield, R-Levering, both stated that auto insurance reform would be a top priority this session. Well they made good on their statement and the Senate has passed a bipartisan auto insurance reform bill.

Senate Bill 0001 (2019) was passed by a vote of 24 – 14 with all Senate Republicans and 2 Senate Democrats voting for the bill.  Democrat State Senators Adam Hollier and Sylvia Santana of Detroit were the Democrats who voted for this reform plan.

According to the Detroit News one problem standing in the way of this auto insurance reform bill becoming law is Michigan’s Governor Whitmer has threatened to veto the bill if it reaches her desk in its current form.

Governor Whitmer does not like this bill because the government does not dictate to the private auto insurance companies what they can charge for premiums and how they determine their prices.  Sounds a bit communist to me, why should our government be allowed to dictate to any private company how much they can pay for their product or service, let alone how they price them.

Governor Whitmer stated:

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

What would this bill do if it does pass in its current form, it would:

  • End the requirement that Michigan auto insurance policies guarantee unlimited lifetime medical coverage for injured motorists. Michigan drivers could choose plans with as little as $50,000 in personal injury protection that would also cover up to $200,000 for immediate hospital needs.
  • It would cap reimbursement rates for hospitals and other medical providers.
  • The Michigan Catastrophic Claims Association (MCCA)fee, which is set to rise from $192 to $220 in July, would be reduced to roughly $40 when the reinsurance program is effectively closed to future claims.  This bill would also require the MCCA provide a driver rebate, through Michigan insurers, if their assets cover more than 120% of their liabilities.
  • The plan also attempts to reduce what the Sponsor of the Bill Senator Nesbitt calls “attorney lawsuit abuse” through measures that include tougher rules prohibiting attorneys from soliciting clients within 30 days of a crash. There is also a second bill sponsored by Senator Theis that would require lawsuits involving auto injuries to be filed in the same county as the crash. This is an attempt to curb "venue shopping" by ambulance chasing attorneys.

I believe that Democrat State Senator Adam Hollier had a very good point about some of us here in the State of Michigan when he said:

The reality is the majority of people who I live near have already opted out because they aren’t buying auto insurance, can’t afford to buy auto insurance

He went on to say this bill will provide relief to us who do pay for auto insurance.  I agree but more importantly it would give the possibility of people who could not afford those high rates, highest in the nation, the ability to get straight with the law and be able to purchase auto insurance here in Michigan.

This is the year in which we should demand that our state politicians actually do something that will help all of us Michiganders regardless of what party or ideology we are affiliated with.  This has nothing to do with politics and everything to do with our wallets.

We should all ask our representatives to stand up for us and not their parties and donors regardless of who gets the credit.  In fact the Republicans in the Senate and House could take the credit along with the Democrat in the Governor seat.  It would be a win-win situation for both parties politically and much more important us citizens of Michigan.

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