Vickie Thomas/WWJ

As Legislators Struggle To Reach Insurance Reform Deal, Mike Duggan Says '2019 Is The Year Auto Rates Come Down'

He sounded confident

May 20, 2019 - 9:01 am

(WWJ) A full court press on auto insurance rate reform is happening throughout Michigan as the state House and Senate continue to try to reach common ground on a plan.

Today, Dan Gilbert is reportedly looking at a petition drive to bring down auto insurance rates, while Detroit mayor Mike Duggan is hopeful lawmakers get it done without having to take that step. He told WWJ's Vickie Thomas there has been "tremendous progress" on a deal in the state legislature.

"I thought what the House passed was excellent in many respects," Duggan said. "We need to get rid of these non-driving factors like credit scores that are discriminatory. The governor's fighting for that right now. I've been talking to folks on all sides on a daily basis. I think they're honestly working to get to resolution. I truly believe 2019 is the year auto rates come down."  

Later today, state Rep. Isaac Robinson, D-Hamtramck, is going to host a real deal auto insurance caucus at Hamtramck City Hall to emphasize the need for reform that bars non-driving factors like credit scores and zip codes into insurance prices.

In other auto insurance reform news, the Detroit News says billionaire business owner Gilbert will roll out a petition drive, hoping to collect enough signatures to put a no-fault auto insurance initiative on the 2020 ballot. To make that happen, he would need 340,000 signatures over six months. Gilbert is in the mix because he says the high cost of auto insurance keeps people from moving to the city, where he has invested millions in rehabbing property. 

For his part, Duggan said he would support either Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's proposal or the one brought forward by the House. 

"Both of them are dramatic improvements over what we have today. They're going to bring down Detroiters' rates quite a bit," Duggan said.

On Thursday, Michigan House Democrats revealed a plan to slash rates by 40 percent. It's an answer to the Republican plan in the Senate, which has no savings guarantee but does drop the imperative to pay for catastrophic coverage as part of premiums.

What's not in the Republican plan in the Senate are things Duggan and Whitmer have long championed -- Eliminating zip codes and credit scores as factors in the individual price of insurance.

Under the current no-fault system, Michigan has the highest auto insurance rates in the nation -- about $2,400 per year on average, which is nearly $1,000 above the national average. Michigan is also the only state that requires seniors to buy duplicative coverage, costing them between $600 and $1,000 each year.