Reg­u­late auto in­sur­ance in­stead

The Detroit News - - Front Page -

Iread with some dis­may your ed­i­to­rial, “Make auto in­sur­ance re­form pri­or­ity No. 1,” Sept. 6. I’d like to bring some points to your at­ten­tion in an ef­fort to bal­ance the ar­gu­ment:

1. The peo­ple of the state of Michi­gan, in 1992 and again in 1994, told the leg­is­la­ture to leave no-fault in­sur­ance alone. In 1992 there was a ques­tion on the bal­lot to re­peal no-fault in­sur­ance and 63 per­cent of the vot­ers em­phat­i­cally said, “No.” And then in 1994 there was an at­tempt to cap the ben­e­fits at $1 mil­lion. This time 61 per­cent of the pub­lic said, “No.”

2. The in­sur­ance com­pa­nies, which are push­ing for so-called no-fault in­sur­ance re­form, re­al­ize they can’t con­vince the pub­lic to go along. In a bla­tant act of dis­dain for the cit­i­zens of our state, the in­sur­ance com­pa­nies are now say­ing, “We’ll do it our­selves in the leg­is­la­ture and we don’t have to worry about the damned pub­lic.” Ar­ro­gance run amuck.

3. In­sur­ance com­pa­nies re­ally want to get their hands on the Cat­a­strophic Claims Fund that hov­ers a lit­tle over $20 bil­lion. What a pay­day for them if they could pull that rob­bery off.

4. Tom Leonard needs to have a big fund­ing ally as he seeks to po­si­tion him­self to run for at­tor­ney gen­eral next year. He fig­ures the deep pock­ets of the in­sur­ance in­dus­try will make him a lead­ing can­di­date to suc­ceed Bill Schuette.

5. Lana Theis, a state rep­re­sen­ta­tive and chair­man of the House In­sur­ance Com­mit­tee, needs a fund­ing ally as she tries to po­si­tion her­self for a pro­mo­tion to the Michi­gan Se­nate next year.

6. The in­sur­ance com­pa­nies are quick to point out, as well as your ed­i­to­rial, that Michi­gan’s in­sur­ance rates are some of the high­est in the na­tion. What they fail to tell you is that if Detroit was taken out of the mix, our rates would be in the mid­dle of the pack. It’s the Detroit num­bers that skew the in­sur­ance rates for all of us, but mostly for Detroi­ters them­selves.

7. Mayor Mike Dug­gan’s cor­po­ra­tion coun­sel, Butch Hol­low­ell, was right when he said the high cost of auto in­sur­ance in Detroit was di­rectly at­trib­ut­able to the costs as­so­ci­ated with theft, col­li­sion, and us­ing zip codes, credit scores, oc­cu­pa­tion, and ed­u­ca­tion to set rates. That al­lows in­sur­ance com­pa­nies to red­line much of Detroit, thus jack­ing the rates up.

Detroit’s rates are the high­est in the state, if not the coun­try. If we want real re­form in this state, let me make a sug­ges­tion. Michi­gan is one of the only states in Amer­ica that has ab­so­lutely no — none — reg­u­la­tion over auto in­sur­ance.

L. Brooks Pat­ter­son Oak­land County ex­ec­u­tive

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