Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan talks about the need for reform in the state’s no fault auto insurance system.
Kathleen Gray/Detroit Free Press
If the Michigan legislature doesn’t make auto insurance reform a priority soon, Dan Gilbert may take matters into his own hands.
Gilbert and his Quicken Loans family of companies could fund a ballot initiative, putting reform of Michigan’s no-fault insurance law in front of voters in 2020, the company’s vice president of government relations Jared Fleisher told Crain’s Detroit.
“We believe the right solution is a legislative solution (and) we believe that should happen in lame duck,” Fleisher said. “If it doesn’t happen in lame duck, we think it should happen in the first six months of 2019.”
Michigan’s unique no-fault insurance policy pays for unlimited medical expenses, wage loss benefits and property damage in auto accidents — regardless of which driver messed up. But it also plays a key role in driving up costs for Michigan residents, who have the highest insurance rates in the country, according to a report from The Zebra.
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In August, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan claimed the policy was unconstitutional in a lawsuit against Michigan’s insurance director. That suit comes after another much-discussed reform proposal was voted down last year.
For his part, Gilbert has joined other corporate leaders for some time in arguing that the law deters new residents and inflates costs.
There hasn’t been a decision on exactly what a Gilbert-led proposal would contain, Fleisher said.
Any ballot campaign for a new statute would require 8 percent of this year’s votes for governor — 338,481 — to sign petitions to qualify for the next general election. Fleisher told Crain’s that he thinks other businesses would flock to the effort.
“I think it’s fair to say that you could see an active business coalition on this issue … folks who are not on the health care side, not on the insurance side, but who are on Michigan’s side,” Fleisher said.
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