The House Insurance Committee should consider all bills to reduce auto no-fault costs — not just those promoted by insurance companies.

John Prosser II, a Customer Service Executive at Health Partners Homecare and an advocate for protecting Michigan's Auto No-Fault, shares his view from inside the fight to protect his important and unique benefit to Michigan drivers.

As the Michigan Legislature continues its debate on proposed no-fault automobile insurance reforms, proponents continue to argue that they’re willing to consider all options to bring down rates for drivers. They say that this is all about doing what’s best for the people.

"My top priority is that we keep the best benefits in the country and lower rates for consumers," said state Rep. Tom Leonard, R-DeWitt Township, who serves as chairman of the House Insurance Committee.

If Mr. Leonard is true to his word, then he should also be considering the 7 other proposals aimed at cleaning up auto no-fault that sit in his committee, waiting to be taken up.

The bills have been offered by a variety of representatives, democrats and republicans alike, and vary from limiting the criteria an insurer can use to create rates - no more rates based on education level, credit history, or occupation - to granting the Director of Insurance the power to order refunds for overcharges.

One bill would make a ticket for less than 6 mph over the speed limit not worth any points on the driver’s record, as opposed to the current 2 point standard which can raise your premiums as much as 11% according to Insure.com.

Another bill would prevent insurers from raising rates for drivers who file claims for damage caused by a pothole. As the folks in Lansing continue to struggle to come up with a solution for the roads, many of the potholes are becoming unavoidable, and drivers are bearing the cost through increased premiums.

Sen. Coleman Young II, D-Detroit, has also introduced legislation in the other chamber. His bill, SB 347, would require a report every two years regarding the competitiveness of auto insurance in the state, and under certain conditions would grant the Director of Insurance power to modify the rate approval process, regulate excess profits, establish and require specific rates, and also establish a plan to assist consumers in understanding “how to obtain automobile insurance at the most favorable rates and how to obtain benefits for which they are eligible.”

All of these proposals would help consumers, and would come at no cost to their coverage or to the medical providers that serve them. As Sen. Young said during Mayor Duggan’s initial hearing in front of the Senate Insurance Committee for his D-Insurance proposal, “There’s other solutions that are offered. The question is are they going to be taken up? That’s the question.”

If lawmakers truly are interested in reducing rates and maintaining the best coverage in the nation, they should look at all of the options, not just those promoted by the insurance industry.
October 29 2015