By Max Dorfman, Research Writer, Triple-I
Michigan’s no-fault system reform law, effective in 2020, has led to personal auto insurers paying out fewer claims and many drivers paying less in premiums, according to recent research by two Triple-I nonresident scholars.
The study, No Fault Auto Insurance Reform in Michigan: An Initial Assessment, co-authored by Patricia Born, Ph.D. of Florida State University and Robert Klein, Ph.D. of Temple University, observed substantial decreases in average liability premiums and personal injury protection (PIP) loss costs in 2022. PIP covers the treatment of injuries to the driver and passengers of the policyholder’s car in a no-fault auto insurance system.
“Our initial evaluation of the likely effects of the reform legislation indicates that it is significantly reducing the costs of auto insurance for many Michigan drivers,” the paper states. “How much these reductions will be for any given driver will depend on the PIP option they choose, among other factors.”
The average Michigan policyholder paid $2,611 annually for personal auto insurance coverage in 2019 and $2,133 in 2022, an 18 percent decrease, according to Insure.com. Before the state’s no-fault auto insurance system reform law took effect in July 2020, Michigan regularly ranked as one of the costliest states in the U.S. for personal auto insurance coverage.
The 2020 reform law’s enactment allowed for:
- Reducing auto insurer payouts of high PIP medical benefits;
- Instituting medical cost controls;
- Broadening the state’s authority to regulate personal auto insurance rate filings;
- Creating a Fraud Investigation Unit within the Department of Insurance and Financial Services; and
- Restricting auto insurer use of “non-driving” rating factors (e.g., credit-based insurance scores).
Michigan was the only state to offer unlimited medical benefits through the PIP portion of an auto insurance policy. Insurers also were severely constrained in controlling the medical costs arising from PIP claims. This cost contributed to more than one in four drivers (26 percent) on Michigan’s roadways being uninsured in 2019, the Insurance Research Council (IRC) estimated, nearly twice the national average (13 percent). Michigan is one of 12 no-fault states in the U.S. These systems allow policyholders to file claims with their own insurer after an accident, regardless of whom caused the accident. No-fault states restrict lawsuits to serious cases and promote faster claim payouts.