Other WDET Auto Insurance Conversations:
The DJC reporters asked about plans for lowering auto insurance rates in Michigan. Here’s how the candidates answered:
Brian Calley said he would like to fight fraud in the system and bring transparency to how insurance rates are calculated. “Start out with two major starting initiatives: First is a real fraud authority. Staff it up and give it teeth. Make it a deterrent, whether it is over-utilization or inappropriate billing. They are the things that will make the biggest difference in the areas where the rates are the highest. I would start there. Then also apply transparency to the system.”
Patrick Colbeck said ideological debates are stalling reform. “The reason we haven’t gotten any movement off dead center in the legislature is because it devolves into a debate between folks who want lower costs, which I’m definitely in that category, and folks that want a lifetime benefit,” he said. “I believe we should meet both of those requirements, and to date, it’s always been seen as one or the other.”
Jim Hines said medical fees contribute to the high insurance rates and he would fight fraud and improve transparency in medical fees. “I would suggest that we have only two components. One is a fraud agency to get rid of the fraud in the system, and the second is a fee schedule, a fee schedule that’s transparent. For example, Riley, if you have an accident and you need an x-ray of your arm, it’s going to cost $65. If you’re in an auto accident and you have the same exact x-ray, it’s over $600. What’s the deal?”
Bill Schuette declined the Detroit Journalism Cooperative’s numerous requests to participate in this project, citing scheduling conflicts for the several days offered for taping. Click HERE to learn more about him and WDET’s coverage of his campaign.
Abdul El-Sayed said that part of his four-part proposal would be to simplify how insurance rates are calculated. “Right now, we allow auto insurers to make decisions about what your rates are based on what job you work, what your education level is, your credit score and where you live. That doesn’t make sense to me. The only thing they should be able to pay attention to is your driving record and whether or not you’re over the age of 25.”
Shri Thanedar said he would change the way rates are calculated to improve equity. “The zip code that you live, your economic or marital status, your education, your credit score, none of that should be a factor in deciding your car insurance,” he said.
Gretchen Whitmer said she would like to hold insurance companies accountable for increases in rates. “We’ve also got to make sure that we’ve got an insurance commissioner who is a consumer protection advocate. It would be nice if we had an attorney general who was as well. The insurance commissioner is appointed by the governor, and so that’s one thing that I know unilaterally we can help a bit. But we’re going to need some legislation.”