About $900M in Michigan auto insurance refunds paid out so far, state says

Beth LeBlanc
The Detroit News

Insurance companies have distributed about a third of the $400 refunds slated for about 7.5 million Michigan residents who had car insurance policies as of October 2021. 

More than $906 million of the $3 billion in surplus funds has been distributed, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced Thursday. Insurance companies are required to release the remaining $2.1 billion via $400 refunds by May 9. 

The $3 billion surplus was transferred to insurance companies March 7

More:Still waiting on $400 auto insurance refund? Here's what drivers should know

Department of Insurance and Financial Services Director Anita Fox

"Ensuring that every eligible Michigander receives their refund check or ACH deposit as quickly as possible is a top priority for DIFS,” Department of Insurance and Financial Services Director Anita Fox said. “If you are eligible for a refund and don’t receive it on or before May 9, or if your insurer offers your refund through something other than a paper check or ACH deposit, contact your company."

Individuals unable to get the money from their insurance company can call DFIS at 833-ASK-DIFS between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. on weekdays. 

Whitmer called on the Michigan Catastrophic Claims Association to issue refund checks and distribute an about $5 billion surplus last year. The association levies assessments on insurance bills to cover claims for those injured in catastrophic crashes. 

The association's surplus grew from $2.4 billion in late 2020 to $5 billion as of June 30, in part due to the 2019 no-fault auto insurance reforms and higher-than-expected returns. The association determined it could distribute about $3 billion of its surplus through the $400 refunds. 

The 2019 no-fault auto insurance reform has been the subject of praise and scorn, especially in recent months as a July fee cut led to significant decreases to the fees a medical care provider could be reimbursed for providing care to someone injured in a catastrophic crash. 

The cuts have led some medical providers to close their doors or stop taking auto accident survivors, forcing some of those victims out of their homes and into facilities or hospitals.

The $400 refunds will be issued by mailed check or direct deposit to anyone with a policy as of Oct. 31, 2021. Exceptions include individuals "garaging" vehicles without policies and those with insured historic vehicles, who will receive an $80 refund. 

eleblanc@detroitnews.com

Staff writer Craig Mauger contributed.