Michigan High Court Rejects Appeal Over Cat Auto Fund Records

May 22, 2017

There will be no sunlight on the records of an auto insurance fund that touches every Michigan driver.

The Michigan Supreme Court on Wednesday turned down an appeal from a coalition of health care, labor and consumer groups. The groups want to open the books to understand how the state Catastrophic Claims Association calculates rates.

The insurance fund was created to reimburse insurers for claims that exceed $545,000. Owners pay a fee on every vehicle each year, on top of regular insurance. Starting July 1, the rate will rise to $170 from $160. The assessment increased by $10.00 because assets set aside to pay existing claims produced returns less than anticipated.

All auto insurers operating in the state must pay the fee. The Livonia-based group collects funds to reimburse auto insurers for personal injury protection claims that exceed $545,000 per claim. It paid out $1.1 billion in 2015, mostly for brain and spinal cord injuries, multiple fractures, and back and neck injuries.

The state appeals court last year said the Catastrophic Claims Association is a public body, but lawmakers carved out a public records exemption.

Richard Bernstein was the only Supreme Court justice who wanted to hear an appeal.

Since 1979, there have been more than 34,400 claims reported to the MCCA, which will cost an estimated $83 billion.

Michigan is the only state that requires drivers to buy unlimited medical benefits.

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