OAIN: Groups Upset, Press Insurance Reform After Mich. Helmet Repeal

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Warnings include more claims, higher costs added to state’s no-fault system, according to OAIN

Trade groups and supporters of insurance reform in Michigan are expressing disappointment in Gov. Rick Snyder’s recent repeal of a state law requiring helmet use for all motorcyclists, according to Online Auto Insurance News.

Opponents of the repeal say access to cheap car insurance in Michigan will be further narrowed for Michigan motorists as more claims are filed by helmetless riders and costs increase in the only state that uses a no-fault system with unlimited payouts for crash-related medical costs.

“The consequences of a person’s decision not to wear a helmet is borne by all of society through higher insurance premiums, lost productivity and increased health care costs,” Pete Kuhnmuench, executive director of the Insurance Institute of Michigan (IIM), said in a statement, adding that the repeal was “disappointing.”

The IIM cited an analysis from the Office of Highway Safety Planning estimating that rolling back the law will bring 30 more fatalities and 127 more incapacitating injuries a year. The same analysis estimated $129 million more in costs to Michigan taxpayers.

State law now allows motorcyclists over 21 to ride without a helmet as long as they have $20,000 in medical coverage on their auto policy and have either finished a motorcycle safety course or had their motorcycle endorsement for at least two years.

Legislation behind the law got bipartisan support but was also contentious, passing in the state House by a 69-39 vote in November 2011 and in the state Senate by a 24-14 vote in March.

Source: http://1.usa.gov/JziYlu

The hope from some trade groups was that Snyder would use the repeal as a way to approach broader reform of required no-fault coverage that compensates motorists regardless of fault and is vulnerable to phony claims and pricier compensation. Reform bills seeking to cap payouts and offer tiered coverage options have stagnated in the state Congress.

“The governor had earlier indicated he would not be supportive of the helmet law unless it was tied to some form of no-fault auto insurance reform,” the American Automobile Association of Michigan said in a statement. “Because the repeal will result in additional injuries which will ultimately be paid for by all Michigan motorists, the need is even more critical for changes in the state's current no-fault system.”

For more industry news, head to http://onlineautoinsurance.com/michigan/ for access to informative resource pages and an easy-to-use quote-comparison generator.

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Charles Nguyen
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