Insurers Oppose Mich. Governor’s Consumer Advocate Proposal

January 29, 2008

A proposal by Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm to create a state automobile and homeowner insurance consumer advocate is being called “unnecessary and duplicative,” by one property/casualty insurance trade association.

“We believe it is the role of the Michigan Office of Financial and Insurance Services (OFIS) Commissioner to advocate for consumers,” said Pete Kuhnmuench, executive director, Insurance Institute of Michigan (IIM). “Funding an additional position at taxpayer expense may not be the best use of the state’s limited resources.”

The IIM questions why the position is being suggested when auto and homeowners insurance rates and complaints against insurance companies are all declining.

A study of rates filed by the top 10 insurance companies with the state show that auto insurance rates dropped an average of 2 percent last year, while homeowners insurance rates declined 1 percent. According to the most recent data available, Michigan homeowners premiums rank 21st in the nation and are below the national average, the association said.

IIM added that according to statistics from OFIS, complaints about insurance companies have declined, from 2,969 in 2005 to 2,673 in 2006. Of the insurance company complaints registered at OFIS, 24 percent concern auto insurance and 11 percent are regarding homeowners. Accident and health insurance represent 47 percent of all consumer complaints.

At this writing no response has been received regarding a request by Insurance Journal for comment by the governor’s office on the criticism of the proposal for a consumer advocate.

IIM is a government affairs and public information association that represents more than 90 property/casualty insurance companies and related organizations operating in Michigan.

Source: IIM

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