Michael Duggan

Tonight Mayor Mike Duggan will talk more about the details of a major campaign promise – how he plans to lower auto insurance rates for constituents, who are amongst the hardest hit in the nation.

The community meeting will take place at 7 p.m. at Historic Little Rock Missionary Baptist Church, 9000 Woodward in the city’s 5th District. Whatever the mayor proposes, it will require changes to the state’s current insurance laws.

“If we’re talking about rebuilding the city, it has to be affordable,” Councilwoman Mary Sheffield said Tuesday to the Detroit Free Press. “Being able to insure your vehicle is a huge issue in Detroit. I have experienced it as a young professional in Detroit,” Sheffield said. “I’m really interested in hearing what the mayor’s going to present.”

According to CarInsurance.com, Detroit, has the nation’s highest insurance premiums, at approximately $5,000 – $1,100 more than Brooklyn, N.Y., the city with the second-highest rates.

The reasons that have been cited for Detroit’s high rates, are the large number of people who are driving without insurance and the states no-fault insurance law.

One of his many campaign promises, the issue of lowering car insurance rates, is more of a mess than Duggan ever could have anticipated. He has looked a myriad of options, such as offering a no-frills, basic policy with fewer benefits, which is offered at lower rates in other cities with the high insurance premiums.

Detroit leads the state in car thefts and crime, which is not unusual for big cities in other states. However, there are other factors as well – medical care costs for those without health insurance in a city with high numbers of uninsured people along with abnormally high numbers of medical claims after an accident, along with medical care fraud – are reasons as well. Duggan’s proposals come just as the state legislature deliberate whether to limit lifetime medical benefits for people injured in auto accidents.

Gov. Rick Snyder said at Pancakes & Politics breakfast at the Detroit Athletic Club that he’s been open to working with Duggan on reforms to the state’s auto insurance laws that would help lower the high costs of premiums for Detroiters.

“The mayor and I have had a lot of different discussions on insurance,” Snyder said. “We’ve got to do something to improve the cost of auto insurance, particularly in Detroit. It’s tough, harder than anyone would like.”

Duggan has said in the past that he would like to create a city government insurance company to offer lower-cost insurance than the plans sold by private insurance companies.

“I think that’s challenging to create your own insurance company versus saying are there ways to get insurers to be more proactive in Detroit,” Snyder said.

Zack Burgess is an award winning journalist. He is the Director/Owner of OFF WOODWARD MEDIA, LLC, where he works as a writer, editor and communications specialist. His work can be seen at zackburgess.com. Twitter: @zackburgess1

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