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Former insurance consumer advocate blasts so-called No-Fault insurance "reform"

Butch Hollowell points to  lack of savings, increased financial burden on taxpayers, loss of vital insurance protections

Former Insurance Consumer Advocate for Michigan, Melvin Butch Hollowell, made a compelling case for why so-called “reform” of Michigan’s No-Fault system was bad for Michigan drivers in a recent column in The Detroit News.

First and foremost, Mr. Hollowell emphasized that elimination of the No-Fault’s guarantee of unlimited medical benefits for seriously injured auto accident victims would not result in savings for Michigan drivers:

“Under cross-examination before the House Insurance Committee, insurance industry leaders admitted that their proposal to cut injury benefits would not lower insurance rates.”

As such, No Fault reform would yield the unacceptable result that Michigan drivers are “giving up our life-saving auto insurance benefits without receiving any cost reductions in return.”

Second, Mr. Hollowell points out that not only will No-Fault reform fail to deliver savings to Michigan drivers, but it will cost them and all taxpayers more money:

“[I]nsurers did not deny that capping auto injury benefits would shift the costs of caring for more severely injured accident victims onto the Medicaid system, costing state taxpayers millions more each year.”

Mr. Hollowell went on to list the improvements to the No-Fault system that would truly make a difference for Michigan drivers in terms of both affordability and savings:

  • The Michigan Catastrophic Claims Association, which contributes to high auto insurance prices through its annual per vehicle assessment, must be made more transparent to the public by removing its exemption from the Michigan Freedom of Information Act and Open Meetings Act.
  • The Michigan Insurance Commissioner should be empowered legislatively to regulate the prices that insurance companies charge for auto insurance.
  • Abolish “the unfair practice of using credit scores to set auto insurance rates …”

All of Mr. Hollowell’s points are correct. It is a message that the lawyers here at Michigan Auto Law fully agree with, and that we have shared in recent years while serving as President of the State Bar of Michigan Negligence Section and the Michigan Association for Justice.

Let’s just hope  lawmakers are listening to more than just the political donations from Michigan’s auto insurance companies.

– Steve Gursten is an experienced insurance lawyer at Michigan Auto Law, Michigan’s largest law firm specializing in serious automobile accidents. Steve wrote the book, Guide to Michigan No-Fault Law.

Michigan Auto Law is the largest law firm exclusively handling car accident, truck accident and motorcycle accident cases throughout the entire state. We have offices in Farmington Hills, Detroit, Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids and Sterling Heights. Call (800) 777-0028 to speak with one of our lawyers.

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