October 11, 2017
Michigan Auto Law attorney Steven Gursten was a guest on the October 2, 2017, edition of the Nolan Finley Show on Detroit’s WFDF-AM (910). On the show, Gursten — speaking as an auto accident attorney and a representative of the Michigan Association of Justice — explained why House Bill 5013, also known as the Driver’s Choice Insurance Reform plan, falls far short of the promises being made.
His appearance can be seen in the video above; in addition, a full transcription of the segment can be found here.
On Finley’s show, Gursten discussed crucial points of the bill, such as how the $250,000 benefits cap that is being offered as part of a lower cost auto insurance option is deliberately disingenuous. As he told Finley:
The political reality is, they’re calling it $250,000. It’s really $25,000 for people, for individuals. The remaining $225,000 is really just a kickback, it’s a bribe the hospitals to try and get them to go along with this bill, and it’s limited only to acute emergency room care. So it doesn’t cover you as soon as you leave the emergency room. That’s $25,000 that has to cover everything else.
Gursten also pointed out that while Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan called HB 5013 a “civil rights bill,” the non-driving related factors like redlining, credit scoring and ZIP codes can still be used by insurance companies to increase auto insurance prices for Detroiters:
Detroit’s still going to be paying so much more than everybody else in the country. And if you took Detroit out of the picture entirely, Michigan drops from the most expensive, to now about 12 or 14 in the nation as the most expensive. So why is Detroit so much more expensive? And the reason is, in Michigan the insurance companies are allowed to use a lot of factors like ZIP codes. Totally non-driving-related factors — income, redlining — that they can’t use in other states. So people in Detroit are penalized. And if you want to lower the price dramatically in places like Detroit, we should have the same laws that they have in places like California.
Gursten further noted to Finley that HB 5013’s call for a fraud authority to be established is not a fair one, as the bill language excludes fraud committed by the insurance companies and claims adjusters:
It should be a fraud authority that looks at fraud by the insurance companies also, not just fraud by claimants. All I’m saying is it should be both sides, not just one.
In addition, Gursten told Finley that the bill calls for a medical fee schedule, which would immediately slash costs and stop fraud in the Michigan auto No Fault system:
[T]he reality is, a fee schedule overnight wipes out a lot of the fraud, it wipes out a lot of the ambulance chasing and solicitation that disgusts me as an attorney. It really forces the bad actors on the medical provider part … they can’t price gouge. They don’t have to hire lawyers now, they don’t have to bring lawsuits, it eliminates the clog of lawsuits in the courts.