Michigan house defeats no-fault auto insurance reform bill

Posted at 7:49 AM, Nov 03, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-03 11:03:09-04

Legislation to reduce the cost of auto insurance in Michigan has been defeated in the state House.
The bill was rejected 45-63 Thursday night in the Republican-led chamber. The vote came late after more than an hour of debate.

The measure would let drivers opt out of a requirement to carry unlimited medical benefits through their auto insurance for crash injuries. It seeks varying cuts in personal injury protection fees for motorists choosing less coverage.

Supporters say the bill would help drivers who face the highest premiums in the country. Opponents say it would give insurers wiggle room to avoid guaranteed rate rollbacks and lead to inadequate treatment for people with brain and other catastrophic injuries.

it is a blistering defeat for Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan and House Speaker Tom Leonard. The two worked together in a bi-partisan effort to try and bring relief to drivers by lowering auto insurance rates. Michigan's premiums are the third largest in the country.

Lawmakers agree that auto insurance reform is needed in Michigan but so far have not figured out a fix.

House Democratic Leader Sam Singh (D-East Lansing) issued the following statement:

“Every member of the House agrees that Michiganders need lower auto insurance rates. House Bill 5013 was not the solution. What it was is a bad deal for Michigan drivers and accident victims. In fact, the only group that benefited from the bill was the auto insurance industry which would have seen benefits capped for accident victims and no permanent requirement to lower costs. Now that this bad bill has failed, it is time for the Legislature to consider a real solution with strong bipartisan support that would provide rate relief for all drivers without gutting benefits. I am calling on the Speaker and Insurance Committee Chairwoman to give the Fair and Affordable No-Fault Reform package a fair hearing. It is past time to sit down and get to work on the bipartisan plan that will protect car accident victims and reduce rates for everyone.”

Speaker of the House Tom Leonard, (R-DeWitt) also issued this statement:
“Michigan drivers are the only drivers in the country legally mandated to buy insurance they don’t need, don’t want, and can’t afford, which has left Michigan families struggling to make ends meet with the highest auto insurance bills in the country. That is wrong, and the people of this state want it to change.

“This is an important issue that many representatives of the people here in the House wanted to fix. Everywhere I go in Michigan, people ask me when we will finally do something to lower their rates. Today, I can tell my constituents I fought for and voted for a plan that guaranteed a rate rollback for every single driver in Michigan. That was the right thing to do.”