BIAMI Auto No-Fault Advocacy Update: 10/3/18

Quicken Loans’ Dan Gilbert proposes ballot decision on Michigan’s Auto No-Fault system, but even he agrees a legislative solution is preferable; Schuette may support Duggan No-Fault Lawsuit

As BIAMI, partnering with the Coalition Protecting Auto No-Fault (CPAN), continues to vigorously advocate for auto insurance rate reduction while protecting survivor benefits, others voices have called for knee-jerk “solutions” that promise lower rates but would leave large groups of Michiganders unprotected in the event of a catastrophic injury.

For example, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan has urged that, should the legislature fail to fix it within six months, Auto No-Fault (ANF) be scrapped and the state should return to a system where every auto accident would need to be litigated. Dan Gilbert, CEO of Quicken Loans, suggests in the article below (Gilbert Weighs Launching '20 No-Fault Auto Insurance Ballot Question) that ANF should be subject to a ballot question.

Additionally, Attorney General Bill Schuette may come out in support of Mayor Duggan’s lawsuit against Auto No-Fault, which would result in him removing himself from the case. At this time, no final decision has been made by AG Schuette. However, his support for Mayor Duggan’s position on auto insurance has been noted, even going as far as stating that he is the Mayor’s “best hope.” (Click here to read the Crain’s article)

But as many legislators and leaders of involved groups note, Michigan’s auto insurance legislation is sufficiently complicated that a simplistic yes or no ballot vote wouldn’t address key issues. Gilbert himself agrees that a legislative solution is preferable, and CPAN President John Cornack reiterates that our Fair and Affordable Package is a realistic and thoughtful starting point for all parties to reach a legislative solution.

You can read Gilbert’s and others’ comments in the story below. BIAMI will continue to provide ANF updates monthly or more frequently as news breaks.

Gilbert Weighs Launching '20 No-Fault Auto Insurance Ballot Question

Asked if he's considering launching a petition drive to put initiative legislation on the 2020 ballot to reform no-fault auto insurance, Quicken Loans Chair Dan Gilbert told MIRS today, "Every option should be on the table to ensure we get the kind of reform that lowers rates and makes our cities and state more competitive."

"Michigan drivers pay the highest rates in the nation -- literally thousands of dollars more annually than across the border in Ohio, primarily, because Michigan is the only state in the nation where drivers are mandated to carry wasteful medical coverage on their auto insurance plan when they already are covered under their health insurance plan," he stated. "Additionally, the law also allows medical services and procedures to be billed at obscene rates when the medical coverage is being paid for by the auto insurance plans," he stated.

The idea drew a variety of reactions.

"We have gone down this path before with insurance-backed ballot initiatives back in 1992 and '94 which the voters resoundingly rejected," said John Cornack, President of the Coalition Protecting Auto No-Fault (CPAN).

Pete Kuhnmuench, executive director of the Insurance Alliance of Michigan, said he thinks it "demonstrates the frustration" people have with the lack of action on the part of the legislature. A ballot proposal would be "quite a large undertaking," but it would just be an up or down vote on whatever plan is submitted, he noted. "Hopefully, you get a better product through the legislative process," he said.

Rep. Lana Theis (R-Brighton), chair of the House Insurance Committee, agreed with Gilbert that every option "should be considered 'on the table,'" but she said she would prefer a legislative fix.

Gilbert indicated he would too, actually.

"Every day we wait is a day too long. There is an important election just weeks ahead, and we are hopeful that it will bring in leaders committed to delivering real reform and relief for all drivers in the state of Michigan," Gilbert said in his statement. "Next to auto insurance reform, there are few if any steps our leaders in Lansing could take that would have more of an immediate, positive impact on the pocketbooks of the majority of Michigan citizens."

But Theis noted that the insurance code is "many hundreds of pages long and extremely complicated," so she sees a reform by initiative as unlikely. "If this were going to be addressed at the ballot, it would likely ask for a yes or no vote on the full repeal of auto no-fault. Based on my discussions at the doors over the last few months, such a measure would pass," Theis said.

Cornack said CPAN already has a plan out there that would address the problem. "We have put forth a comprehensive and well thought-out reform package known as the Fair and Affordable Package that can, and should, be used for legislative reforms that are necessary to improve and reduce auto insurance premiums for Michigan drivers. This includes cost containment, effective rate regulation including use of non-driving rating factors and transparency of state's insurance industry and regulatory system," Cornack stated.

Kuhnmuench said he'd have to know what was in the proposal before he could say whether his Insurance Alliance would endorse it. But the keys points insurers want to see included in any reform is choice for drivers in the level of their PIP coverage, anti-fraud measures and a fee schedule for medical services. "Clearly, what we have on the books is a creature of the legislature and I think the legislature ought to fix it. In our view, we have a broken, outdated no-fault system. It was implemented by the legislature and it can be fixed by the legislature," he said.

Origami Brain Injury Rehabilitation Center to Offer Comprehensive Driver Rehabilitation Service After Receiving A Grant From the Michigan Health Endowment Fund

Lansing, MI – Origami Brain Injury Rehabilitation Center received a grant from the Michigan Health Endowment Fund (MHEF) to support the expansion of their Return to Driving service.

Origami’s driver rehabilitation service features a state-of-the-art driving simulator, global electric motor vehicle on campus trails, and behind the wheel evaluations. Origami has brought the entire driver rehabilitation process under one roof, helping to streamline learning or re-learning to drive.

Origami will now serve drivers of all ages with neurologic and developmental disabilities through their driver rehabilitation service, which now includes behind the wheel evaluations and a retraining program.

“Our goal in providing individuals with behind the wheel evaluations and training is to create a safer roadway for all while promoting the highest level of independence for the individual,” said Tammy Hannah, President & CEO of Origami as she reflected on their motivation to expand their driving service.

Hannah continued stating, “The MHEF grant allows us to meet the growing demand of our community and create a comprehensive driving service for individuals in need of on the road training.”

As a part of Origami’s driver rehabilitation service, occupational therapists provide comprehensive clinical assessments and vehicle modification/conformance assessments, driver readiness and rehabilitation evaluations, and senior driving evaluations. In addition, Origami provides driver cessation and alternative transportation counseling.

Origami has purchased a new vehicle for behind the wheel evaluations that is specially equipped with instructor brake and controls, hand controls, specialty knobs, adapted mirrors, and assistive steering.

In addition to assisting individuals recovering from an injury to be able to drive again, these services are being offered to teens with disabilities that may need additional support in their driver education and training. “We know there are teens who are eager to pass their driving test, and parents who are uncertain if this will be possible. Our expertise and compassion makes our driver training the perfect opportunity for these potential drivers,” said Amanda Carr, Director of Rehabilitation.

Origami Brain Injury Rehabilitation Center is a non-profit organization located in Lansing, Michigan. Origami provides the region’s broadest spectrum of neuro-rehabilitation services for survivors of brain injuries and their families. Through their compassionate and innovative service, Origami creates opportunities and transforms lives.

To learn more about Origami’s Driver Rehabilitation Service please call (517) 455-0264 or email us at info@origamirehab.org. Additional information about Origami can be found online at www.origamirehab.org.

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Amy Fedel Memorial Concert

BIAMI is privileged to be part of the 20th anniversary Amy Fedel Memorial Concert, to be held at 7:30 pm, September 22nd, at the Greenwood United Methodist Church, 1001 Green Road, Ann Arbor, MI. Music will be provided by the Bonfire Poets, Five Miles More, Patti Jarosz, Katie Geddes, David Vaughn, and Jeff and the Deck Chairs.

This multi-performer instrumental and vocal concert memorializes 8-year old Amy Fedel, killed by a drunk driver. Amy’s sister, Lisa, suffered a closed head injury in the same accident and continues to progress.

Tickets are available at the door with the recommended tax-deductible donation of $15.00 for adults and $3.00 for kids. All funds benefit the BIAMI, MADD, and the Epilepsy Foundation of Michigan. Since 2008, over $7,000 has been raised through the event, and we strongly encourage your support. For more information, visit The Amy and Lisa Page.

BIAMI President Tom Constand on WJR

During the 2018 Eastern Grand Invitational, BIAMI President/CEO Tom Constand sat down with WJR's Frank Beckmann for an interview. You can listen to by clicking the play button in the audio player above.

MI-DSA to Bring Informational Presentations to Voters with Disabilities

Advocacy has been and will always be a cornerstone of the Association. As such, we joined with a number of organizations last year to form the Michigan Disability Support Alliance (MI-DSA) to fight the ACA repeal and protect Medicaid. All involved were cognizant of the fact that we will need to work on the state level, not only to preserve crucial programs like Medicaid, but also ensure the well-being of Michigan residents living with disabilities.

This year, MI-DSA has developed an initiative to educate and encourage those living with disabilities to vote in the upcoming primaries and election. Beginning in August, MI-DSA members will be hosting presentations across the state to explain why it is important to vote; the rights granted to those with disabilities in regards to voting; the responsibility all voters share; and issues regarding accessibility at polling places. There will also be the opportunity for people to register to vote.

Since last year, MI-DSA has grown from three organizations to eleven. Partner organizations now include the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, Disability Rights Coalition, Michigan Developmental Disabilities Council, Epilepsy Foundation of Michigan, Michigan Protection and Advocacy Services, ARC of Michigan, Self-Advocates of Michigan, Michigan Disability Networks, and Wayne State Developmental Disability Institute. With threats to repeal the ACA and cut funding to Medicare and Medicaid, disability organizations must join together to fight for all persons living with disabilities and their families who rely on these programs and protections granted by the ACA.

Survivor Spotlight: Jodi Byers

Kindergarten teacher, brain injury survivor, and newly crowned Mrs. Michigan America 2018, Jodi Byers is using her pageant platform to help BIAMI raise awareness of brain injury and tell her dramatic story to the public and survivor community.

While working at a church camp following her sophomore year at Hope College, Jodi fell and hit her head twice, once on a counter during the fall and again on the concrete floor. Her initial reaction was that it was just a concussion, nothing of any real concern. She immediately returned to working at the camp and flew home a week later.

The extent of Jodi’s injury did not start to manifest until after she returned home and her condition then worsened to the point where she had to take a semester off from college. Jodi was unable to read beyond five minutes without her vision blurring and had difficulties with pattern recognition. Additionally, she had short-term memory loss, issues with perception, and daily migraines. Any single one of these ensured that collegiate study was impossible until she had recovered, and Jodi struggled with them all at once.

As a normally positive and upbeat young woman, Jodi’s physical, cognitive, and psychological challenges made that outlook almost impossible to maintain. “I had a month of falling into deep depression because I didn't think life would ever become the same. I have been blessed with an amazingly supportive family and if it weren't for them, I don't know what I would have done!” Her condition led to a reexamination of her life and goals, and during this period she realized she wanted nothing more than to help others become the best possible versions of themselves. It is what she felt she was meant to do. Through this realization, she found the strength and resolve to work toward recovery.

Six months later, Jodi was back in college. Since then, she graduated from Hope College, was married, competed and won the title of Mrs. Michigan America 2018, and will soon be competing for the national title of Mrs. America. Since her recovery, Jodi has been dedicated to raising awareness for brain injury. Even before competing for Mrs. Michigan America, she started an online concussion group through Facebook called “Maintain the Brain.” Best of all, today she no longer experiences lingering effects of her brain injury. When asked, Jodi recognizes how unique her recovery was. “I am blessed to have no reoccurring symptoms, but many survivors still do. Therefore, I urge people to be patient, be supportive, and offer grace to fellow brain injury survivors.”

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