Pending bills propose making MCCA subject to FOIA and Open Meetings Act; Republicans’ transparency recommendations would shed light on MCCA assessment calculations
Yesterday, I talked about the Michigan Court of Appeals’s ruling that the Michigan Catastrophic Claims Association (MCCA) is exempt from the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and, thus, can keep “secret” its methods and calculations for setting its annual No Fault auto insurance assessment for catastrophic insurance claims.
Today, I want to talk about what can be done to protect auto insurance consumers and car accident injury victims, and, most importantly, to protect the public and the public’s right to know how their No Fault fees are being assessed and how their dollars are being spent.
Specifically, now that the courts have refused to act, I want to talk about what the Michigan Legislature can do to require the MCCA transparency that is both necessary and long-overdue.
First, I’ll identify the MCCA transparency bills that are currently pending, which provide an excellent jumping off point for lawmakers.
Second, I’ll talk about the thorough, extensive transparency measures that Republican lawmakers have previously proposed in the context of creating a nearly identical MCCA-type organization.
Although it’s anyone’s guess what will happen next, any of the pending or previous MCCA-transparency proposals would make great courses of action.
But, as I pointed out yesterday:
“Republicans like to claim they are all for transparency in government, especially when it comes to how government spends money. … [Yet, the] odds are indeed long that the Republicans — who currently control the Michigan Legislature — will take action now that we know the courts aren’t going to protect our right to know the MCCA’s ‘secrets.’ … The big question now for everyone who wanted MCCA transparency is what will Michigan lawmakers do next — and will Republican lawmakers demand the same level of transparency for how Michigan citizens pay their auto No Fault insurance fee for catastrophic personal injury claims from motor vehicle accidents as these Republicans do from other government institutions?”
Will Michigan lawmakers demand MCCA transparency?
For years, Michigan lawmakers have been trying to demand transparency from the MCCA regarding its decision-making process for setting — and increasing — its No Fault auto insurance fee for catastrophic claims (which is commonly referred to as the “MCCA assessment”).
As an insurance attorney who has seen many abuses in how catastrophic PIP claims, including many involving attendant care reimbursement to providers, I’ve been a very vocal supporter of these efforts as you can see from these past Michigan Auto Law blog posts:
But, now, in light of the Court of Appeals ruling in CPAN v. MCCA, the pressure is really on for the Legislature to do something.
There are already several opportunities already in the works:
- House Bill 4386, which I analyze in Should the MCCA be subject to FOIA & Open Meetings Act?
- House Bill 4752, which is discussed in New bill would require MCCA to fess up how MCCA fees are calculated
- Senate Bill 865, which proposes to make the MCCA subject to the Open Meetings Act and Freedom of Information Act
Follow GOP’s ‘lead’ on MCCA transparency?
As lawmakers (hopefully) proceed with plans for requiring MCCA transparency, they would do well to consider the transparency proposals offered by the Republicans during some of their past plans for changing Michigan’s No Fault auto insurance law.
For instance, in calling for financial transparency at a proposed MCCA-type association, Republicans wanted annual disclosure of the following information:
- “A statement of the current financial condition of the incorporated association and the reasons for any deficit or surplus in collected assessments compared to losses.”
- “A statement of the assumptions, methodology, and data used to make revenue projections.”
- “A statement of the assumptions, methodology, and data used to determine the incorporated association’s annual assessments.”
To learn more, please check out “How about some Republican-style transparency for the MCCA?”