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Michigan Catastrophic Claims Fund: How Much Money Is Really In It?

February 1, 2012 by Steven M. Gursten

No-Fault attorneys and auto insurance group CPAN file lawsuit to get protected info about the Michigan Catastrophic Claims fund – in the ongoing effort to expose No-Fault “reform”

CPAN, a coalition opposing Michigan No-Fault insurance reform has filed a lawsuit against the insurance industry association that handles medical bills for seriously injured auto accident victims, the Michigan Catastrophic Association (MCCA).

For those of you who are unfamiliar with these two groups, CPAN is the Coalition Protecting Auto No-Fault. The MCCA is the Michigan Catastrophic Claims Association. The Michigan Catastrophic Claims fund currently provides lifetime benefits for people who sustain debilitating injuries in auto accidents after their medical treatment exceeds $500,000.

CPAN is claiming the law that created the Michigan Catastrophic Claims fund improperly left out information about how much it is paying out on catastrophic personal injury claims from auto accidents in Michigan.

According to published reports, CPAN officials say that money paid into the Michigan Catastrophic Claims fund is the public’s money, and that information related to the cost of claims and age of claimants is needed, so legislators can make informed decisions before voting on stripping away vital protections from citizens as part of No-Fault “reform.”

Remember, a portion of your No-Fault insurance that you pay as part of your premium goes into the Michigan Catastrophic Claims fund.

CPAN and its attorneys previously attempted to obtain information on the fund through the Freedom of Information Act, but were rejected. Michigan No-Fault attorneys who handle PIP attendant care claims (including the lawyers here at Michigan Auto Law ), have been trying for years to access information on the Michigan Catastrophic Claims fund, as the MCCA ends up calling all the shots in major No-Fault and attendant care litigation cases. But until now, there has been no accountability for their decisions.

As such, our Michigan No-Fault attorneys couldn’t agree more that there is a serious need for this information. The information on the Michigan Catastrophic claims fund has been hidden, and abused, for decades. Hundreds of the most seriously injured and vulnerable members of our society have paid the price.

A little sunlight now is past due – when some legislators (and the auto insurance companies that contribute to them) are trying to dismantle the Michigan No-Fault system at the expense of stripping away valuable protections in favor of Michigan insurance companies that already lead the nation in profitability.

Before we rob Michigan drivers of the best auto insurance protections in the nation, let’s take a good look at how our current system is working. As far as I can see, providing lifetime medical care for necessary PIP insurance benefits and attendant care (nursing care services) to auto accident victims with life-altering spinal cord injuries and traumatic brain injuries is the better way than throwing these people onto Medicaid and leaving it to the taxpayers. Especially when these insurance companies are far more profitable than they’ve been letting on.

If every person in the state with an auto insurance policy pays a reasonable fee into the Michigan Catastrophic Claims fund annually ($145 per vehicle as it is now), then this fund will not disintegrate, as insurance industry advocates contend. It will continue to serve its purpose of covering people with the most serious auto accident injuries for life.

There are many, many more questions that need answers before we turn our No-Fault insurance system on its head.

Why fix a system that is has been proven in study after study to work better than in any other state in the nation? Why save insurance companies who are already amazingly profitable additional millions upon millions of dollars (approximately $100 million a year according to one recent study) in exchange for sacrificing our drivers’ valuable insurance protections? And what possible compelling public policy reason is there to move this burden away from these insurance companies and onto taxpayers, which is exactly what happens when the responsibility to care for catastrophic injury accidents is shifted from No-Fault insurance to Medicaid?

Let the Michigan Catastrophic Claims Association lawsuit proceed!

Steve Gursten is one of the nation’s top No-Fault attorneys handling auto accident lawsuits. He is head of Michigan Auto Law and president of the Motor Vehicle Trial Lawyers Association. Steve has received the highest verdict in the state for a car accident or truck accident victim in 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011, according to Michigan Lawyers Weekly.

– Photo courtesy of Creative Commons, by 401k

Related information to protect yourselves:

CPAN study highlights dangers of No-Fault “reform”

Charade over No-Fault reform “savings” has stopped

Your Michigan No-Fault benefits

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 Michigan No-Fault attorneys.

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