I write a monthly column for lawyers. Most of my advice columns in Attorney at Law Magazine are for other Michigan lawyers, and include tips and strategies for car accident and truck accident cases. But this month I chose to write about the new No Fault “reform” bill House Bill 4612, frankly because almost no one fully understands just how terrible this would be for accident victims and drivers.
Here’s my column:
I recently had the pleasure of being a guest on the Lester Graham Show, on NPR Michigan Radio. We talked about Gov. Rick Snyder’s efforts to enact No Fault “reform” to Michigan’s insurance system.
Here’s the full story on NPR Michigan Radio:
For more information, you can also check out our Michigan No Fault Reform Resource Center. No Fault reform proposals include capping necessary medical benefits from anywhere from $50,000 (Reps. Virgil Smith and Joseph Hune) to $1 million (Rep. Pete Lund and Gov. Snyder).
I was recently featured as a guest writer for the Detroit Free Press, on the topic of No Fault reform. Here’s my article:
The crux of my article was that Michigan auto insurance companies collected more than $2 billion more in auto premiums in 2011 than they paid out in claims – and pocketed the difference, according to data provided to Michigan Auto Law by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners and the Michigan Office of Financial and Insurance Regulation.
Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson is known for being a pragmatic, fiscally savvy leader and a good negotiator.
And in a recent exclusive interview, Mr. Patterson discussed how the insurance industry hasn’t offered a guarantee of savings for Michigan drivers amid its strong push to “reform” the Michigan’s No Fault system by capping medical benefits and dismantling the Michigan Catastrophic Claims Association (MCCA). The MCCA is the fund that reimburses insurance companies for auto accident claims exceeding $500,000.
Mr. Patterson turned up the heat on the No Fault reform debate in February, when he published his “Open Letter” on why our existing No Fault system must be preserved and protected.
Does Virgil Smith represent the people of the 4th District, Detroit? Or does he represent the state’s powerful insurance companies?
Well, judging from his latest proposal, if Sen. Virgil Smith of Detroit were to become a Saint, he would be the patron saint of Michigan’s auto insurance industry. Smith’s latest proposal to give our own MCCA money to Michigan’s already highly profitable auto insurers by closing the MCCA would be only the latest insurance industry “miracle.”
In a recent exclusive interview, Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson discussed the importance of Michigan’s No Fault auto insurance system, and how the insurance industry is hiding the facts from the public.
This includes Michigan’s insurance Commissioner Kevin Clinton refusing to release the hard data to Mr. Patterson, so he and other lawmakers can make educated decisions based upon facts. Mr. Patterson spoke with attorney Steven Gursten of Michigan Auto Law.
Last week, I had the honor and pleasure of appearing as a guest columnist in Bridge Magazine when it ran my column, “Eight Steps That Will Lower Auto Insurance Rates.”
The point I made is one I’ve made many times before:
“If the goal of reforming Michigan’s ‘No Fault’ system is to lower auto insurance prices for Michigan drivers (instead of just boosting insurance company profits and bottom lines), then we need to focus on ‘reform’ proposals that will truly help Michigan drivers save money on car insurance.”
There are two months left in the current legislative session. This means Michigan’s No-Fault insurance “reform” bills are still looming.
Currently, Michigan requires drivers to carry No-Fault auto insurance, which provides lifetime (reasonably necessary) medical care for the most catastrophically injured car accident victims, and many other life-saving benefits for very serious auto-related injuries such as attendant care nursing services.
But these reform bills would cap medical benefits and attendant care to a dangerously low amount. When injury victims are cut off, they will be pushed onto Medicaid. And who pays for these medical expenses? The burden would fall onto Michigan taxpayers — instead of the auto insurance companies that are required by law to protect them, and who already enjoy some of the highest profitability margins in the entire country here in Michigan.
HB 5864 was introduced on September 11, 2012 by Representatives Lyons and Haveman. It has been written by the state’s powerful auto insurance companies, and would essentially destroy the No-Fault law in Michigan.
It is a very dangerous and ugly piece of legislation. It keeps the profits intact for the state’s auto insurance companies – who already enjoy some of the highest profit margins in the nation – but would wipe out the ability to bring an auto accident lawsuit for all but the most seriously injured in this state, effectively barring nearly everyone from the courtroom.
This week, I blogged about House Bills 4993 and 5587-5589, which would ban drunk drivers, felons and illegal immigrant drivers from receiving Michigan No-Fault benefits if they’re hurt in an auto accident.
Yesterday I was interviewed by Michigan Lawyers Weekly for a story on the possible repercussions of this discriminatory and senseless legislation.