Michigan 2010 insurance initiative spurs debate
LANSING, Michigan: The state of Michigan has at least two measures under consideration for the 2010 statewide ballot but its the proposed Michigan Insurance Rate Reduction Initiative (2010) that is stirring debate. According to the filed petition, the measure seeks to cut insurance premiums for good drivers by 20 percent in addition to a 20 percent rollback. Additionally, the measure, if approved, would include various consumer protections. Initiative supporters, like the Consumer Watchdog and the Consumer Federation of America argue that the measure is 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." However, measure opponents, the Heartland Institute argues otherwise. "Many Californians saw their auto rates remain the same," said the institute. Additionally, the organization argues that the proposed measure's restrictions will only make it difficult for insurers to offer discounts to drivers. But proponents stressed that the proposed Michigan measure will prevent "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."