The Senate Republicans are making it a priority to overhaul the state’s car insurance laws this year. Details are still sparse as the lawmakers prepare specifics for the committee proceedings.
Sen. Aric Nesbitt sponsored the Senate Bill 1, which will become the vehicle bill for proposals in updating the insurance policies in Michigan. Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirley’s spokesperson, Amber McCann, said that the bill would keep updating as lawmakers put options into consideration to reduce car insurance rates.
She said, “Rather than to put out a bill that already has specifically what we are going to do and what we are not going to do, the caucus does not want to limit themselves.”
State has no-fault
The state has no-fault car insurance, requiring all drivers to avail of coverage. Accidents leading to severe injuries can cause more than $555,000 in lifetime medical expenses, which are covered by the Michigan Catastrophic Claims Association. They reimburse the patient’s insurance company for these costs. To keep up with this, the MCCA asses a $192 fee per vehicle.
Sen. Nesbitt said that all options need to be on the table; especially with policy change discussions starting. He said his focus is to ultimately reduce the costs of car insurance. He said, “I’d like to see some choice provided to drivers, I’d like to see ways to control costs to make sure that we’re driving down the cost of auto insurance making our rates more affordable. We have the highest cost of auto insurance in the nation – this is wrong.”
Most expensive rates
Lawmakers have always wanted to bring about changes to the no-fault system, hoping that it can reduce insurance fees. This is because the state’s insurance rates often land Michigan in the most expensive car insurance list in the nation.
Until today, the subject is controversial. The most recent auto insurance legislation iteration, which lets residents pick the level of coverage for personal injuries, resulted to more than 62 drivers opting out of personal injury coverage and to changes in how car insurance operates in the state, died in a lame duck.
Nesbitt said that with the new lawmakers in Congress and Senate, a new governor, and more interest from the public to lower costs, we might finally get some headway on this issue.
The bill is on its way to the Senate Insurance and Banking Committee for review. No specific timetable is given, but Nesbitt remains hopeful it would be soon.
Speaker Lee Chatfield said that car insurance should be a priority. His first speech as House Speaker cited this as “the single largest issue holding back our state.”
The first legislation presented in Congress focused on amending the civil asset forfeiture laws in Michigan, mandating a criminal conviction before any seizure from the police takes place. Legislators in the Congress also presented a 10-bill package from the previous session which will subject the legislature, the governor, and lieutenant governor to open records laws.
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