William Crandell: ‘No Fault’ auto reform will leave many with nowhere to turn

Published 9:06 am Thursday, February 6, 2014

One of the hot topics in Lansing right now is implementing reforms to the Michigan ‘No Fault’ auto insurance law.

Introduced last year, House Bill 4612 has the backing of Gov. Rick Snyder and will radically change auto insurance laws here in Michigan. But, unfortunately, this bill will also eliminate lifetime care and services for those who have suffered from a catastrophic collision and leave thousands of Michigan drivers underinsured and will unnecessarily lead to more pain and suffering in the name of tort reform and more profit for insurance companies.

When testimony was being held for this bill last year by the House Insurance Committee, the Republican members rudely walked out when disabled victims began to speak about how this bill would affect them, proving once again that they are a party that cares only for special interest dollars and not people.

Under our current “no fault” insurance law, drivers have lifetime coverage for medical expenses if they are involved in a catastrophic collision. But according to the political action group the Coalition Protecting Auto No Fault, if passed, HB 4612 would place a $1 million lifetime cap on catastrophic coverage, severely limiting the quality of care that some victims will receive and the lifetime cap for motorcycle accidents will only be $250,000.

It also eliminates the right to a jury trial in lawsuits related to accidents and puts all the power into the hands of insurance companies. The bill also limits what medical providers can charge insurance companies for medical treatments and it would also place a cap on payments to home caregivers, limit rehabilitation services and home modifications which will make it more difficult to have ramps built and limiting a victims’ accessibility to their own homes. Many people with significant disabilities rely on attendant care services to remain independent. HB 4612 will strip them of that independence and their quality of life and many could end up in institutions because of an inability to meet the financial need to cover their treatment.

Sponsors of this legislation have stated that the average motorist will save $125 the first year if HB 4612 is passed, but there is nothing in the bill stopping insurance companies from increasing the rates the following year and we will be left with inadequate coverage.

Of course this legislation is fully supported by the insurance industry and reflects their greedy nature. They don’t mind putting their hand in your pocket every month but when you need them the most they do everything they can to deny coverage.

This law will leave many of the disabled with no option but to seek help from the government increasing the burden upon taxpayers and allowing insurance companies to make a windfall of profit.

The Republicans have been trying to pass this legislation for 20 years to appease the insurance industry and no one is interested, maybe because it’s a ghastly idea that will leave the most vulnerable of our society with nowhere to turn.


William Crandell is a community activist and member of the Michigan Education Association and the Michigan Democratic Party. He is also a member of the South County Democratic Club where he has served as their communications director and as the chairperson of the SCDC Blue Tiger Community Action Committee.