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Oakland County Exec. L. Brooks Patterson on how the insurance industry is keeping drivers in the dark on No-Fault reform

April 2, 2013 by Steven M. Gursten

In a recent interview, Oakland County Exec. 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.

The insurance industry’s wish list of reform proposals include capping No-Fault’s medical benefits for auto accident victims, and getting rid of the Michigan Catastrophic Claims Association, the fund that reimburses insurance companies for claims exceeding $500,000 (and distributing the money in the MCCA fund to the auto insurers, instead of returning it to the people who paid it).

People with catastrophic personal injuries from motor vehicle accidents  rely on the MCCA fund for medical care.  Many of these people have spinal cord injuries and traumatic brain injuries, and would be pushed onto Medicaid, which as Mr. Patterson points out. This means the costs would be shifted from insurance companies to taxpayers, while the quality of medical care for everyone would drop.

Mr. Patterson turned up the heat on the No Fault reform debate in mid-February, when he published his “Open Letter” on why  Michigan’s existing No Fault system needs to be preserved and protected.

Below is a video of Mr. Patterson, commenting on the lack of information that’s needed to make an informed decision about changing Michigan No Fault.

Here are a few good quotes that Mr. Patterson shared during the video:

  • “The word “transparent” doesn’t exist in [the insurance industry’s] lexicon. It’s no question that they want to keep all of their assumptions… confidential.”
  • “…[R. Kevin Clinton, the insurance commissioner of Michigan] who basically oversees this fund, even though it’s technically owned by the drivers, actually told one of my guys in a meeting… Clinton condescendingly said, “It would be too complicated for you to understand it.””
  • “Is that how we keep public information private, so the public can’t see how in fact these calculations are formulated? By just telling us, “You’re too stupid to understand what we do, and therefore we are going to continue to do it our way?””
  • “No Fault is good for Michigan.”

Stay tuned for more videos with Oakland County Exec. L. Brooks Patterson on Michigan No-Fault

We also discussed the following topics during our interview with Mr. Patterson:

    • The importance of No Fault to Oakland County’s and Michigan economies;
    • How he saw Michigan No Fault help car accident survivor and quadriplegic Erica Nader Coulston;
    • And whether reform would translate into lower auto insurance rates for Michigan drivers.

Those topics, along with accompanying videos from the March 12, 2013 interview, will be covered in future Michigan Auto Law blog posts.

For more information, click here to read a comprehensive analysis of Michigan No Fault reform and the latest developments.

Related information:

Video: L. Brooks Patterson praises No-Fault

Judge rules that secrecy ends now for MCCA

What’s really in the MCCA? (Hint: billions in reserves)

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