Detroit Reps Reject Plan Without Lower Auto Insurance Rates

Rate reduction, discriminatory price setting among items not addressed in Senate Bill 1
Tuesday, May 7, 2019

LANSING — Republican state senators rushed through a proposal to alter Michigan’s auto insurance system today, mirroring a plan that was soundly rejected by the Legislature in 2017. Like the previous proposal, Senate Bill 1 lacks any solution to combat redlining and other discriminatory rate-setting practices that allow insurance companies to charge individuals using non-driving factors. Members of the Detroit delegation overwhelmingly opposed the Senate proposal after spending the past four months speaking with residents about auto insurance, arguing Senate Bill 1 does not address the underlying factors leading to high rates.

“Detroiters deserve better than this lackluster reintroduction that does nothing to stop insurance companies from engaging in predatory, discriminatory rate-setting practices,” said state Rep. Sherry Gay-Dagnogo (D-Detroit). “While I understand all too well the need to address this issue immediately, the path to rate reductions for Michigan residents must include a crackdown on redlining.”

Recent studies on Michigan auto insurance rates illustrate the profound impact of discriminatory rate-setting practices. A factory worker in Detroit renting their home currently pays over three times more annually, up to $4,218, in premiums than a lawyer in Grand Rapids who owns their home, paying just $1,382. These high rates have resulted in Michigan having the fifth highest rate of uninsured drivers in the country.

“Astronomical insurance rates criminalize driving in our community and create barriers to the opportunities Detroiters need to improve the lives of their families,” said state Rep. Tyrone Carter (D-Detroit). “Any legislation to reform our auto insurance system must address these predatory insurance practices that lock Detroiters and millions across the state out of economic security.”

Detroit legislators have held a number of town halls on auto insurance over the past four months, with guaranteed reductions and reforming the insurance rate-setting process repeatedly mentioned as the top concerns among Detroit residents.

“We need to focus on attacking excessive rates, not our health care,” Rep. Isaac Robinson (D-Detroit) said. “The only guarantee this legislation delivers is more profits for the car insurance companies. We need to work together to find common ground on proven reforms that lower rates, not benefits.”

“Our community deserves real rate relief after years of predatory insurance practices left Detroiters with the highest auto insurance rates in the country,” said state Rep. Tenisha Yancey (D-Detroit). “Any plan to reform auto insurance here in Michigan must include guaranteed rate reductions and end the discriminatory practice of using non-driving factors to determine premiums.”

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