For Michigan State Senator Hansen Clarke, automobile insurance reform will be a key factor in his gubernatorial bid.
Clarke has joined in the mix to fill in the seat of state’s next governor, while Lt. Gov. John Cherry opted out of the race recently. Reportedly, auto insurance will be one of his platform’s primary thrust.
The Senator told the Associated Press that he has fulfilled all minimum requirements, including paperwork, to officially start getting on to the campaign trail.
The gubernatorial aspirant has been actively going around the state to promote his initiative to reduce state auto insurance rates by as much as 20 percent. He will also clamor for reduction of costs to alleviate financial pressure off struggling families and ailing businesses.
The Senate was unable to take up the auto insurance reform package passed late in December last year by the Michigan House of Representatives. This was because the Chamber adjourned its sessions in December, leaving not enough time for this measure to be tackled upon.
Many Republicans and insurance companies oppose the bill, while many urban law makers and Democrats support it.
Several insurers warned that if this bill is signed into a law, many auto insurers would threaten to leave Michigan and consequently worsen the insurance situation. This would also mean the loss of jobs for over 50,000 individuals employed in these insurance companies.
On the other hand, supporters are optimistic that this measure will introduce fairer insurance pricing as well as facilitate better price control.
This measure also includes provisions which would necessitate approval of the commissioner before any rate hikes would go into effect. Rate increases for “good drivers” would also be prohibited, especially from those who are “not at fault” in road accidents.
Once approved and signed into a law, this bill will provide the insurance commissioner with more authority to control auto insurance price rates. Moreover, insurance companies would no longer be enabled to use education level, occupation or credit performance records in pricing or underwriting clients.
On average, Michigan auto insurance policyholders spent $928 in 2007, the 11th highest in the nation. The average U.S. driver spent $795 in the same year.
Clark, in his capacity as a former congressman, served six years in the Michigan House of Representatives before winning a seat in the Senate twice. A lawyer by profession, he once ran for mayor of Detroit but he lost his bid. Since he is “term-limited,” the constitution prohibits him from running for re-election in the Senate. Furthermore, his senatorial term will expire at the end of this year.