Expert David Christensen talks D-Insurance bill in Michigan

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The debate over whether Michigan should adopt the D-Insurance bill currently before the state Senate has raged throughout the summer. Recently, Local 4’s Flashpoint pitted Attorney David Christensen against an auto insurance executive to discuss the pros and cons of the bill.

On Sunday, September 20, 2015, WDIV Local 4’s Flashpoint, hosted by Devin Scillian, featured Attorney David Christensen and Eric Poe, the COO of Cure Auto Insurance as they debated Senate Bill 288, commonly known as D-Insurance. Scillian noted that Poe was nearly the author of the bill.

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Eric Poe presented a graph showing that Michigan’s auto insurance costs were much greater than other states because, he said, Michigan was the only state to allow unlimited medical coverage.

But David Christensen was ready for these claims. He pointed out that none of the numbers Mr. Poe used could be verified because the auto industry and the Michigan Catastrophic Claims Association refuse to open their books to lawmakers trying to make informed decisions about no-fault reform. While loss records are publicly filed, actuarial tables and how those losses are calculated are treated as closely guarded industry secrets.

Attorney David Christensen agreed that the high price of no-fault auto insurance is a problem, particularly because it causes many motorists, particularly in Detroit, to drive without any insurance. Still, there are other, better solutions than the one in the D-Insurance bill.

Where David Christensen and Eric Poe differed was in the role of insurance companies and medical providers in creating high PIP expenses. Poe said Michigan law allowed for medical providers to abuse the system and charge far more for services than is paid by Medicare or Workers’ Compensation Insurance. In particular, he claimed that insurance companies spend $1.28 in claims for each dollar of premiums paid.

But those charges are approved or disputed by the insurance companies themselves. If they felt that the charges for MRIs or other medical treatments were too high, they could dispute the charges and let the courts decide. When they do so, they cause medical providers to wait years before they get paid for their services.

Christensen and Eric Poe did agree that discriminatory price setting was part of the problem. Poe explained that large insurance providers use education, occupation, and credit scores, which result in higher policy rates for minorities and underprivileged citizens. He was in favor of a national law to prohibit such practices. Christensen said that the insurance providers have created a captive audience among Detroiters who must pay these artificially high premiums just to get the same protections available to every Michigan resident.

This isn’t the first time Attorney David Christensen has been tapped as an expert on D-Insurance. He recently wrote an op-Ed for Crain’s Detroit and has spoken often on no-fault issues in front of other car accident lawyers. If you want a local expert handling your auto accident claim, contact Christensen Law today for a free consultation.