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Michigan Insurance Rate Reduction Initiative (2010)

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The Michigan Insurance Rate Reduction Initiative did not appear on the November 2010 ballot in Michigan. The measure proposed cutting insurance premiums for good drivers by 20 percent in addition to a 20 percent rollback. Additionally, the measure would have included various consumer protections.[1] According to reports, no initiatives met the May 26, 2010 petition drive deadline.[2]

Text of measure

Summary

In November 2009, the Board of State Canvassers voted 4-0 to approve the filed petition language. According to reports the petition's summary read:[3]

The purpose ... is to protect consumers from unfair insurance rates and practices, to encourage a competitive insurance marketplace, to empower consumers with legal rights and to ensure that insurance is affordable for all residents.

Support

The measure was sponsored by a group called "Fair Affordable Insurance Rates." The petition drive was officially launched on April 26, 2010 by the Alliance for the United Metropolitan Detroit.[4] Kim Bowman, an aide to Sen. Hansen Clarke, supported the proposed measure. Gov. Jennifer Granholm also called for a 20 percent cut in insurance rates.[5]

  • According to supporters, the proposal would not have only lowered rates but "ensure that consumers are protected against unfair trade practices and to promote competitive, affordable coverage for everyone."[6]
  • Consumer Watchdog and the Consumer Federation of America argued that the ballot measure was similar to California Proposition 103 (1988), which was approved by voters. The measure, they said, "saved California drivers an average of $3 billion per year" by "creating an auto insurance market that is competitive, has low rates and protects consumers from abusive insurer practices."[7]
    • The Michigan proposed measure, they said, would have prevented "price gouging" and "require insurers to base rates primarily on a motorist's driving record rather than factors like their ZIP code or marital status."[7]

Opposition

Insurance industry representatives opposed the initiative. Representatives argued that without cutting costs the rate reductions may only cause hardships for insurers.[5]

  • Pete Kuhnmuench, executive director of the Insurance Institute of Michigan, said, "A 20 percent rate reduction puts us at risk with regard to solvency. How does any business operate with 20 percent less in income when it can’t affect the expense side? We still have the obligation to pay those claims."[8]
  • Despite arguments that the proposed measure was similar to California Proposition 103 (1988) and had proven to be a successful case, the Heartland Institute argued otherwise. "Many Californians saw their auto rates remain the same," said the institute. Additionally, the organization argued that the proposed measure's restrictions would only make it difficult for insurers to offer discounts to drivers.[7]

Path to the ballot

See also: Michigan signature requirements

In order to place the measure on the November 2010 ballot proponents were required to collect a minimum of 304,000 valid signatures by May 26, 2010.[1]

See also

Related measures

ApprovedaCalifornia Proposition 103 (1988)

Articles

Additional reading

References