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Tracy Samilton / Michigan Radio

Chanting, "We can't wait," survivors of catastrophic auto accidents, their families, and friends gathered Wednesday to call on state legislators to take action to prevent deep cuts to payments to their long-term care providers.

Bills to prevent the cuts (HB 4486 and SB 314) have been languishing in committees in the state House and Senate, with no hearings scheduled before elected leaders leave Lansing for summer recess. The 45% cuts will be imposed on July 1 as part of Michigan's new auto insurance law.

Car stuck between walls
Gareth Harrison / Unsplash

Today on Stateside, the legislature revisits Michigan’s high auto insurance rates, but will a decrease in rates only come with less guaranteed medical care? Plus, a study looks at how an all-renewable energy grid would have fared in January’s polar vortex.

Listen to the full show above or find individual segments below. 

Car accident
Daniel X. O'Neil/Flickr / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Republican lawmakers in the state House and Senate say lowering the cost of auto insurance across the state is a top priority for the 100th Legislature.

How to change Michigan’s auto no-fault insurance law is an issue lawmakers have been trying to crack for years.

In the House, Representative Jason Wentworth (R-Clare) will chair a special committee devoted to the issue. He said this will give lawmakers a broad, collaborative way of tackling the problem.

two cars in a rear ending accident
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan billionaire Dan Gilbert is focused on lowering the state’s auto insurance rates. He's trying to convince the state Legislature to get on board with his proposal – but if it won’t, he says he’ll start a campaign initiative for the 2020 ballot.

Parts of Michigan have some of the highest auto insurance rates in the nation, and Gilbert says the way to fix that is to stop requiring drivers to have unlimited, lifetime medical coverage.

State Farm / Flickr - http://bit.ly/1rFrzRK

Last week in Crain’s Detroit BusinessChad Livengood wrote about how Detroit factory workers are charged more than lawyers for auto insurance. Livengood joined Stateside to explain a new study that looked at why rates are so high in the city. 

The study, conducted by California researcher Douglas Heller, tested six major insurance carriers using a 30-year-old female profile. It found the rates she received varied widely depending on her level of education, job title, and area of the state she lived in.

Flickr user Keturah Stickann/Flickr / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

 

Are women worse drivers than men? Michigan auto insurance companies appear to think so.

In most states, there’s not much of a difference between auto insurance rates for men and women. But in Michigan, there’s a difference of about 4.03% between them, with men paying $2,087 and women paying $2,175.

Lessenberry explains LGBT issues and no-fault car insurance headlines

Apr 29, 2015
user Marlith / flickr.com

This Week in Michigan Politics, Jack Lessenberry breaks down what happened during the U.S. Supreme Court's hearing over gay marriage bans in Michigan and other states, why the state Senate also held a hearing on a religious freedom bill that same day, and why Michigan has the highest insurance rate in the country and possible changes to fix that. 


Car accident
Daniel X. O'Neil/Flickr / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Car insurance rates in Michigan are 136% higher than the national average, according to an analysis by Insurance Quotes, a subsidiary of Bankrate.com.

Probably the biggest reason, says Insurance Quote's Laura Adams, is that Michigan is a no-fault state

That means insurance companies have to pay the cost of any car accident a customer is involved in, regardless of which driver is at fault. 

Jessica Mullen / Flickr.com

Most industries like to reward their most loyal customers.

But a consumer watchdog says more and more auto insurance companies are punishing loyalty, by charging a higher premium for it. 

Getting a ticket
Jimmy Emerson / Creative Commons

Michigan drivers who have trouble keeping track of paper proof of insurance forms may soon have another option.

The state House this week passed a bill that would let drivers use smartphones or other electronic devices to show proof of insurance when pulled over.

Many insurance companies already offer apps and other ways for insured drivers to view their information electronically.  

Secretary of State Ruth Johnson yesterday announced a new effort to crack down on car insurance fraud. Specifically, she, with the head of the State Police and Michigan’s Financial Services Director, are going after those who sell or use fake insurance.

Evidently this turns out to be a far bigger problem than anyone imagined. The state chose one day -- in this case, July 31st -- and reviewed all the paper insurance certificates it collected. In Wayne County, where nearly one fifth of all Michigan residents live, more than one-fourth of all insurance certificates were phony.

But before you say, “What else would you expect from Detroit?” consider this: In far-way Chippewa County, in the Upper Peninsula, 60 percent of certificates were fraudulent. Statewide, the figure was 16 percent on that day.

User: Brother O'Mara / Flickr

Detroit bankruptcy mediation begins today

“The mediation portion of Detroit’s bankruptcy starts today. The city and its creditors will try to find common ground outside court. City and state officials will meet with the city’s major unions and retirement systems,” Sarah Cwiek reports.

16% of Michiganders are driving with fraudulent insurance

“Michigan’s Secretary of State says statistics show a large percentage of Michigan motorists are driving around with phony auto insurance policies. A recent one day survey found 16 percent of auto registration renewals used fraudulent paper insurance certificates,” Steve Carmody reports.

Flint and Detroit still get top rankings for violence

Flint and Detroit remain the most violent cities in America. The Detroit News reports on FBI crime statistics released Monday.
 

“Flint saw an overall rise in violent crime. The city reported 2,774 violent crimes in 2012, nearly 400 more than 2011’s total of 2,392, the FBI reported. Detroit saw a small drop in violent crime with 15,011 incidents in 2012, compared to 15,245 in 2011.”

A judge has ruled the organization which sets the mandatory fee for no-fault auto insurance must disclose how it calculates the fee. 

bettyx1138 / flickr

A Detroit lawmaker thinks he has the answer to that city’s high rate of uninsured drivers.

State Senator Virgil Smith wants to create a pilot program that would allow Detroit drivers to sign up for bare-bones insurance policies with reduced rates. The idea is to cover medical costs up to $50,000 a person, or $100,000 an accident. Right now, the state’s no-fault law requires unlimited personal injury coverage. Smith says that’s hampered efforts to reduce urban insurance rates.