Governor Gretchen Whitmer and the Department of Insurance and Financial Services has announced that the Michigan Catastophic Claims Association (MCCA) will be returning surplus funds and will begin the process of refunding $400 per vehicle to Michigan Drivers. It is expected that drivers will receive checks during the second quarter of 2022.
“DIFS stood with Governor Whitmer in calling upon the MCCA to return surplus funds to Michiganders with auto insurance, and we applaud the MCCA for taking the necessary next steps to deliver the largest refund possible to drivers while maintaining the viability of the fund,” said DIFS Director Anita Fox. “In the coming months, DIFS will work to ensure that refund checks are issued to Michigan consumers as quickly as possible.”
The MCCA was created by the Michigan legislature in 1978 to reimburse insurance companies for PIP benefits they paid out over a catastrophic amount. The current catastrophic amount of $600,000 was set July 1st, 2021 and extends through June 30th, 2023. The cost to reimburse insurance carriers for these high-value claims is the fee reflected in the premium paid on each insured vehicle in Michigan.
Under the recently revised no-fault reform law, Michigan drivers have the option to select from several different medical coverage limits. The unlimited option is still available and these are the only drivers paying the MCCA fee. Drivers on Medicaid have the option to purchase a $50,000 limit and all drivers will have a $500,000 and $250,000 PIP benefit option. Drivers who are on Medicare or have a qualified health plan will have the option to opt out of PIP benefits altogether.
The MCCA announced that $3 billion of the current surplus could be returned to policyholders and still ensure continuity of care for accident survivors. In order to be eligible for the refund, a Michigander must have had a policy in force as of 11:59 p.m. on October 31st, 2021. The surplus funds are going to be turned over to the insurance companies that are operating in Michigan by March 9, 2022 and the insurers will be responsible for issuing checks to eligible policyholders. They will have 60 days after receiving the funds to get the checks in the hands of policyholders.
It is important to note when selecting any limit other than unlimited that once the cap is reached, the insurance carrier will no longer pay for an accident victims crash-related medical care, treatment and expenses. The burden of paying these bills will then shift to the driver who caused the accident and would be paid under the liability coverage on their auto policy. This is why we are stressing the importance of carrying adequate liability limits and purchasing a personal umbrella to best protect your assets.
We will keep you informed as more information is released.