Watters Asks Insurers to Protect Auto Cover for Mich. Soldiers Overseas

Office of Financial and Insurance Services (OFIS) Commissioner Linda A. Watters issued a bulletin asking Michigan insurers to make sure that members of the U.S. Armed Forces returning home to Michigan do not have any trouble renewing their automobile insurance if it lapsed while they were serving their country on active duty.

“There have been reports from other states that soldiers returning from duty in Iraq have encountered problems reinstating their insurance, or being asked to pay higher premiums,” Watters said. “While I am very pleased that we haven’t had similar complaints by Michigan consumers, I do think it’s valuable to remind the industry of their obligations under Michigan law.”

The bulletin reminds the state’s no-fault automobile insurers that under section 500.2118(2)(d) of the Michigan Insurance Code it is illegal to refuse to insure or otherwise penalize persons, including members of the armed forces who are in service or have been in service outside of the United States, if the person certifies that his/her vehicle was not driven or moved without the required insurance during the six-month period preceding application.

“I certainly appreciate the sacrifices that are being made by our troops serving abroad and I don’t want to see them encounter any unnecessary obstacles when they return home and transition back to civilian life,” Watters said. “If anyone in Michigan encounters this problem, I urge them to call the Office of Financial and Insurance Services toll-free at (877) 999-6442 and we will investigate the situation.”

Click here to access Bulletin 2004-03-INS at the OFIS Web site.