I read 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