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Lansing to begin auto no-fault hearings Tuesday

Michigan’s auto no-fault insurance will be a hot topic this week.

Michigan’s auto insurance rates are among the highest in the country. Right now there are competing plans among legislators aimed at attacking this problem. One focuses on getting rid of the requirement for unlimited medical benefits for catastrophic injuries from car crashes. Instead, it would allow drivers to cap those benefits at specific amounts or keep the unlimited benefit. That bill, HB 5013, has a committee hearing Tuesday.

Representative Sherry Gay-Dagnogo (D-Detroit) supports a competing plan. She said gutting catastrophic claims coverage is a deal breaker for her and many Democrats.

“250,000 dollar cap catastrophic, or 500,000 – neither one of those will ensure savings and it also could put our drivers at risk,” she said.

Gay-Dagnogo said there will likely be a lot of proposed amendments introduced Tuesday. She wants any insurance overhaul to prohibit companies from using things like zip codes and gender to set rates.

Representative Lana Theis (R-Brighton) is a bill sponsor and chair of the House Insurance committee. She said she’s open to all opinions, but she is focused on this bill Tuesday, not on other bills or potential other bills.

“It’s the singular thing I think we can do for Michigan residents that is going to improve their lives in a way that is very real,” she said.

Governor Rick Snyder said he looks forward to seeing what the Legislature comes up with as it starts to negotiate a solution.

“I’m generally supportive of all those plans and I’m interested in watching the legislative process to really say how do you assess and balance all those,” he said. “And I look forward to helping to promote the outcome.”

Snyder said the Legislature needs to get a bill on his desk by the end of the year. Otherwise, he’s afraid an overhaul won’t happen before his term in office ends.