So we've talked about what HB 4936 is, how it changes the existing auto no-fault insurance system and the negative impact to Michigan drivers. Now, let's look at where auto insurance reform is heading now that the bill has effectively stalled out in the House.
It appears that the Governor's office is prepared to step in. Beginning this month, the Governor's office will commence mediating discussions between insurance companies and the member organizations of the Coalition Protecting Auto No-Fault [CPAN]. CPAN's member groups include both medical and consumer groups such as the Michigan State Medical Society, the Michigan Osteopathic Association, the Michigan Health and Hospital Association, the Brain Injury Association of Michigan and the Michigan Association for Justice.
Although the governor's office did not respond to requests for comment, it is believed that discussions will focus on cost containment and greater transparency of the workings at the Michigan Catastrophic Claims Association – the entity charged with determining with the annual premium all drivers pay to ensure there is enough money to fund the lifetime medical care in catastrophic injury auto accidents.
The issue of transparency is a common concern to both Republicans and Democrats. To date, the MCCA refuses to share information on how it's decisions are made to increase annual fees, to invest the funds received, to estimate future liabilities or to compare existing funds to potential liabilities. Their recent refusal has made a number of folk wonder what exactly they are hiding. This isn't the first time there have been calls for transparency at the MCCA.
Sen. Glenn Anderson, 2009:
I think that consumer's interests will be represented well by CPAN at these Governor ordered meetings. The medical and consumer groups are up to speed on why the current system works to protect Michigan drivers and why the proposed changes are harmful.
But, it wouldn't hurt to contact your particular representatives or the Governor's office to let them know how you as consumer's stand on the issue.
CLICK HERE to quickly compose a simple letter to your representative and the Governor.
Let's all keep our finger's crossed that our representatives do the right thing for Michigan drivers.
Mr. Smith has practiced as a trial attorney since graduating Notre Dame Law School in 1992. He has litigated cases across the country including cases from Ventura County, California to Middlesex County, New Jersey. He practices in both State and Federal courts.