Duggan fights to lower auto rates for residents with 'D-Insurance' plan

Detroiters pay some of the highest car insurance rates in the nation. 

Mayor Mike Duggan says it is motivation for people to move away, and if the city can adopt a plan for cheaper insurance, more may stay.

Duggan is asking lawmakers to amend the no-fault insurance act to create D-Insurance. It is a policy that would allow Detroiters to buy auto insurance at affordable rates.

"My aggravation throughout this, is who speaks for the 50 percent of Detroiters who cannot drive a car legally because they can't afford their insurance," he said.

"Sometimes I'm late with my payments or I have to double up paying the premium per month." said resident DJ Mondo Blaze.

High auto insurance premiums, it's something most Detroiters say they are forced to deal with because of where they live.

"I live just below the Eight Mile landmark, the border there," said resident Ann Jolly. "If I lived above it I'd pay $400 less a year on auto insurance."

On Tuesday a firm hired by the city outlined details of a six-month study revealing how to make insurance more affordable for Detroit residents.

The study found the major cause of higher premiums was connected to medical usage from Detroit policy holders 

"When it comes to medical claims for those accidents," Duggan said, "suburbanites are filing six per 1,000 and Detroiters are filing 12 per 1,000 (claims)." 

They concluded that by letting Detroiters opt out of the state's unlimited personal injury protection system, D-insurance could save a Detroit motorists hundreds of dollars a year. 

"We would estimate that the projected driver's savings would be in the range of between $600 and 2,300," said Roosevelt Mosley of Pinnacle Actuarial Resources, Inc.

As Duggan pushes for his insurance plan in Detroit, in Lansing, his D-insurance legislation is under consideration by lawmakers and was just approved by the Senate Insurance Committee. 

The proposal would have $25,000 in benefits for personal injury protection and then $250,000 for catastrophic care of a disabling injury from an auto accident.

A claim above the cap would go toward a motorist's health insurance.

Some oppose the legislation including the mayor's former employer because of what it could eliminate for a motorist who is severely injured in an accident.

"We don't believe that limiting medical care to people who suffer catastrophic automobile injuries is the  appropriate path to lower rates in the city of Detroit," said Conrad Mallet of the Detroit Medical Center.

Many Detroit motorists say they applaud the Duggan's efforts.

"I need 20 votes in the Senate and 56 votes in the House," Duggan said. "And if I can get them by fall we'll be selling D-Insurance by next year."
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