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Several members of the Michigan House Democratic Caucus appeared before the press on May 1, 2014 to announce their own version of No-Fault Reform. This reform, in the form of 14 separate bills, is designed to keep rates low and combat unfair or deceptive practices by the insurers.
The purpose of the bills is to manage the high cost of No-Fault insurance without imposing the kind of benefit caps featured in the Republican proposals. The bills themselves fall into three categories: consumer protection, affordability, and transparency.
Some of the bills will impose fines on insurers who show a pattern of failing to act in bad faith. They will also allow insured drivers to sue their insurance companies for unfair or deceptive practices. These are similar to consumer protection laws in place to regulate other industries.
Another set of bills will put limits on insurance companies’ rate increases: prohibiting them from raising rates for claims where the other driver is at fault and making it harder for companies to charge excessive rates. Under these bills, the companies will have to justify their rate increases and will be prohibited from basing their rates on certain information like the driver’s education, employment, or place of residency.
Finally, the bills will increase protections for employees of the insurance companies who expose unfair and protective practice. These bills will also provide for policyholders’ education and allow the records of the Michigan Catastrophic Claims Association (MCCA) to be released under the Freedom of Information Act.
The specific language of the bills are not available to the public at the time of this writing. Look for a future posts which will closely analyze the Democrats’ proposals. If you support price controls and accountability for No-Fault Insurers, contact your state representative and tell him or her to consider the Democratic reform bills.