Michigan Governor Calls For Millions In Auto Insurance Refunds
Detroit Free Press (MI)
LANSING — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Monday called on the auto insurance industry to send refunds that could total billions of dollars to all insured motorists in the state.Whitmer said the refunds should result from the bipartisan auto insurance package that she signed into law in 2019.
Refunds should be issued by the Michigan Catastrophic Claims Association, she said. The association has a board controlled by the insurance industry that manages a fund that pays for catastrophic care. The fund get its money from surcharges paid by insured motorists. Those surcharges have been reduced since the new auto insurance law took effect.
Whitmer said in a Monday letter to Kevin Clinton, the executive director of the MCCA, that financial reports show the fund's surplus has still grown from $2.4 billion at the end of 2020 to $5 billion as of June 30, 2021.
"The surplus reflects premium overcharges and is partly a reflection of the cost-saving measures implemented in the historic, bipartisan no-fault reform legislation," Whitmer said in the letter.
The money "belongs to Michiganders and should be put in people's pockets immediately with a refund check," she said in a news release.
"A refund check to working families will help us continue to put Michiganders first and drive down costs."
Whitmer's office did not immediately respond to a request to clarify whether she was calling for the entire $5 billion to be refunded.
Michigan has more than 7 million licensed motorists. A $5 billion refund would result in average checks of more than $700 each. But a significant number of Michigan motorists are not insured, so the potential average refund, if it was ever approved, could be larger than that.
Clinton could not immediately be reached for comment.
Both Whitmer, a Democrat, and the Republican-controlled Legislature have been under fire from advocates for catastrophically injured auto accident victims and related health care providers over sharp reductions in funded care since parts of the reform package took effect.
The legislation was expected to provide Michigan drivers with significant reductions in Michigan's highest-in-the-nation premiums, guaranteed for eight years, by giving drivers five choices for their insurance, ranging from keeping the current system of unlimited lifetime benefits to opting out entirely from the personal injury protection portion of insurance coverage
Contact Paul Egan: 517-372-8660 or [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @paulegan4. Read more on Michigan politics and sign up for our elections newsletter.