Michigan Democrats introduce competing auto insurance reform plan

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LANSING (WJRT) - (05/16/19) - Michigan auto insurance reform is one hot button issue at the top of the list for both Democrats and the GOP.

Democrats presented their own so-called reform plan Thursday. It's called D.R.I.V.E Auto Insurance Reform Plan. It's a counter to a pair of Republican bills that passed in the House and Senate last week. Governor Gretchen Whitmer has said she would veto the bills if they made it to her desk.

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Democratic House Leader Christine Greig sounded off over the quick passage of last week's bills.

"Bills were dropped and rushed and moved with little notice and very little opportunity for public input," Greig said.

RELATED: Michigan House passes auto insurance reform bill in the middle of the night

On average, the Dems say their plan means savings of about $700 in Marquette, $1,500 in Flint, $1,000 in Lansing and $2,200 in Detroit annually.

"Our plan puts a guaranteed rate reduction of 40 percent at the top of our priority list and that's 40 percent across your entire bill," said Donna Lasinski (D-Scio Township).

In addition to cutting your bill by 40 percent, Democrats say their plan would base rates only on driving factors.

"We're taking away gender, credit scores, educational attainment level, occupation, marital status, home ownership and zip code," said Sherry Gay-Dagnogo (D-Detroit).

D.R.I.V.E. would also create a consumer protection fraud authority, leave personal injury protection or PIP as is, but allow seniors to opt out should they have Medicare or other lifetime retirement health coverage. This is one area where the plan differs strongly from the Republican plan.

"There is some practicality and the very fair question that if a person has coverage through their health insurance or another program, why they would then be bound to the cost of a health insurance policy, so that is a place of debate," said State Rep. Ben Frederick (R-Owosso).

Republican State Representative Ben Frederick remained open to other options.

"I welcome all ideas on this issue. I think it's a reflection of how universal the acknowledgement that rates are simply too high. They're unsustainable," Frederick said.

Democratic State Representative Sheryl Kennedy says she believes lawmakers can work together on this like they had during the beginning of this session.

"With our governor's support we're going to go back to the process that we had started which is working in a bi-partisan way," Kennedy said.

Governor Whitmer did not comment directly about the Democrats' plan Thursday. Instead, she said the lines of communication between all parties are open and that talks are progressing.

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