December 16 – while the Michigan House of Representatives passed a legislation that will amend how auto policy premiums are set in the state this afternoon, the House seems to be divided in half as the opposing team, made mostly of Republican Representative, voice out their opinions regarding this bill.
Having a 57-47 vote during last Wednesday’s session, the bill easily won the House majority vote and is now waiting to be signed by Gov. Jennifer Granholm. After this bill is signed and other formalities are finished, major changes are set to take place in Michigan. Democrat Representatives, who counted for more or less 57 votes supporting this legislation, said that the bill is designed to safeguard the best interests of consumers and to decrease premium rates.
Meanwhile, house Republicans claim that this bill can make companies move out of Michigan and lose interest in investing in the state. A quick rebuttal to answer the Republicans was made by Troy Representative Marty Knollenberg, by saying that House Democrats passed this legislation without any help or input from Republican colleagues. Republicans who are against the bill believe that this legislation will eventually drive up auto policy costs for drivers or car owners and jeopardize jobs in the insurance sector. Industry insiders commented that the said bill is not likely to pass in a Republican-led Senate.
According to reports from the state House, provisions in this new bill include the following:
1. It will be illegal for insurance companies to use irrelevant factors including a motorist’s occupation, educational attainment, and credit history. State officials will be more stringent in making sure that objective factors such as a driving record will be used to deny coverage or set premium costs.
2. Insurance providers will not be allowed to earn profit and sell their consumers’ personal information without seeking prior approval
3. Prohibiting the hiking of premiums of good drivers who are found to be the one at fault in collisions and accidents.
4. Prohibiting Insurance Commissioners from seeking employment and being hired for a private insurance company within two years from leaving their post or office.
The Michigan Insurance Coalition, a group that is said to represent insurance companies that write $3 billion worth of yearly claims in property and casualty insurance in Michigan, also oppose this legislation. The group released a statement saying that the end result of this bill will add costs to drivers, cause a series of expensive trials for insurance lawyers, and drive insurance companies to bankruptcy or force them to do business in other states.