June 11, 2003
Office of Financial and Insurance Services (OFIS) Commissioner Linda A. Watters today issued the "2003 Buyers' Guide to Auto Insurance in Michigan." The guide, which is an annual survey of automobile insurance companies and their rates for different policies for different areas of the state, is available for reviewing and downloading on the web at www.michigan.gov/difs. Hard copies of the guide are also available by contacting OFIS toll free at (877) 999-6442.
"It is clear, after reviewing this year's survey results and seeing the disparity of rates from territory to territory, that the issue of rate differentials needs to be addressed," said Watters. "It is my priority to lead a review of the conditions of the insurance market in the state with stakeholders and develop solutions to ensure all Michigan families have fair and equitable access to insurance."
It is important to remember that Michigan continues to have a competitive automobile insurance market for consumers. The rate increases experienced here in Michigan are also identical to national rate increases due to low return on investments for insurance companies and increasing cost of medical expenses.
"As rates fluctuate from region to region, it is especially important to compare policies and companies to find the best value for your situation," added Watters. "The 2003 Buyers' Guide to Auto Insurance can educate consumers on what to ask when shopping around and is a helpful enforcement tool for OFIS"
Michigan law makes it illegal for an insurance company or an insurance agent to do and say certain things. This year, OFIS added additional information in the guide to help consumers identify certain statements that an agent may say that could be illegal. Consumers are encouraged to verify such statements with OFIS.
An additional tool for consumers is the interactive version of the buyers' guide on the OFIS web site, which allows users to choose an example that most closely fits their situation and location to get a general idea of rates for auto insurance. The user can review example rates for a select list of companies or for all auto insurance companies in Michigan. The same example information is available in the hard copy of the guide.
More information on automobile insurance is available in the OFIS publication "Consumer Guide to No-Fault Auto Insurance." This guide explains mandatory coverages that are required under no-fault, lists optional coverages like collision and comprehensive, cites factors that affect the cost of insurance, and offers some suggestions for lowering insurance rates. The guide is available at www.michigan.gov/documents/
cis_ofis_noflt_gd_25094_7.pdf or by calling OFIS toll free at (877) 999-6442.
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The Michigan Office of Financial and Insurance Services (OFIS) is responsible for the regulation of Blue Cross Blue Shield, 31 HMOs, 143 banks, 275 credit unions, almost 1,500 insurance companies, 1,583 investment advisers, 2,164 securities broker-dealers, 6,000 consumer finance lenders, 105,000 insurance agents, and 120,715 securities agents.
OFIS is part of the Department of Consumer and Industry Services and is primarily fee-funded, requiring minimal public tax dollars for its regulatory and consumer assistance activities. OFIS has insurance, financial institutions and securities information available online at the OFIS web site, www.michigan.gov/difs, or at the Michigan government home page, www.michigan.gov. All information is also available through the OFIS toll free number, 877-999-6442. If you would like to receive OFIS press releases electronically, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.