Duggan gets support of Michigan GOP in no-fault insurance fight

In his fight against Michigan's no-fault car insurance system, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan has two new supporters from the Republican party in Lansing.

Under Michigan's no fault auto insurance law, everyone must have no fault insurance, otherwise it's a crime and Mayor Duggan wants do something about it.  

During Tuesday's state of the state, new Governor Gretchen Whitmer received the loudest applause of the night when she called for bringing down car insurance rates. That includes support from republicans.

Michigan's car insurance rates are the highest in the country and Duggan has sued to try and eliminate the mandatory unlimited catastrophic insurance coverage - aka no fault insurance.

The lawsuit argues the mandatory no-fault auto insurance system violates the constitutional rights of Michiganders. According to the suit, our annual auto insurance premium of $3,059 is double the national average cost: $1,512. 

Duggan believes he's getting somewhere.

"I think there's enormous momentum and the federal judge last week declaring no fault act shameful, I think has sent shock waves," Duggan said.

He also is getting support from the Speaker of the House, Lee Chatfield and Senate GOP leader Mike Shirkey. Both agree that drivers need choices.

The mayor argues no one should be forced to purchase unlimited catastrophic coverage.

"People should have a choice for the coverage they can afford - that's what we're arguing for and I think we're going to get it this year," Duggan said.

But Oakland County Executive Brooks Patterson wants to keep unlimited coverage and he fears drivers will less coverage could go bankrupt. Margaret Kroese from the Michigan Brain Injury Council agrees.

"People don't choose to be in an auto accident," she said. "They don't choose to be in a severe accident that maybe their entire family is in. The way insurance should work is if everyone is the system, the few people that need that lifelong care have the coverage.

"I would say he's (Duggan) wrong and there are better ways to fix the system."

Rep. Chatfield has warned trial lawyers, hospitals and insurance companies that they need to compromise or else.

"If you are simply becoming an obstructionist to the process you will no longer be at the table and if you aren't at the table, you will be on the menu," he said.

The mayor is hoping that warning will produce a long awaited compromise.