In less than 48 hours the Michigan Senate reviewed, amended, and approved a no-fault reform bill that will give big benefits to the insurance industry on the backs of Michigan motorists. But there is still time to stop this bill from becoming law and cutting off injured motorists from the benefits they need.
Tuesday a notice went out that the Senate Insurance Committee would be reviewing Senate Bill 248, a bill to reform the Michigan No Fault Insurance Act. Wednesday the vote occurred before one legislator had even read the bill. The very next day, Thursday, the Senate as a whole rubber-stamped the no-fault reform, sending it on to the House of Representatives without any opportunity for meaningful review or comment.
There were a flurry of amendments as the bill flew through the Senate. But now that the dust has settled, this so-called reform bill doesn’t do anything to stop insurance companies from abusing their customers. It doesn’t address the inflated cost of insurance in Detroit, or the rash of phony insurance providers. Instead, the bill cuts consumers’ benefits by limiting how much insurance companies would have to pay, creating a separate non-profit agency to handle catastrophic cases over $500,000, and limiting attendant care benefits.
The real beneficiaries of this bill are not Michigan citizens. They are the insurance companies. John Cornack of the Coalition Protecting Auto No-Fault (CPAN) told M-Live:
“We’re not talking about auto no-fault right now. We’re talking about insurance profits, directly to their bottom line. By carving out the care that’s delivered in the state of Michigan, they gain profits.”
Citizens and senators alike have objected to the speed of the proceedings. Senator Steve Bieda of Warren said:
“It is absurd that Senate Republicans are planning to overhaul our state’s entire auto insurance system while giving legislators zero notice to review the bills and weigh in. . . On its face, this legislation is likely to benefit insurance companies without any guarantee that Michigan consumers will see any savings. We should be given the proper chance to consider all of the repercussions before voting on it.”
The fate of this bill now rests in the Michigan House of Representatives. The bill has been referred to the Committee on Insurance. It is up to these 17 representatives to make sure the bill is given its proper close inspection and to see through the blur created by the Senate’s hasty actions. You can help them protect Michigan’s citizens. Call your Michigan House Representative today and tell him or her to vote NO on SB 248 and 249.
David Christensen is a no-fault auto accident attorney at Christensen Law in Southfield, Michigan. He and his team fight the insurance companies to make sure their clients receive the benefits they deserve. If you or someone you love has been injured in an auto accident, contact Christensen Law for a free consultation.