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The Cold Shoulder from Michigan Insurance Companies

July 24, 2008

Lansing, MI - The list of complaints from Michigan residents against insurance companies is long, and some of the problems with unpaid claims and high premiums come from companies recently named to a list of the ten worst insurers in America.

Michigan Insurance Consumer Advocate Butch Hollowell says he sees the issues mentioned in the national report reflected in the complaints that come across his desk every day.

"We are seeing very, very serious charges set forth in complaints. And not just a few, but thousands."

Hollowell says insurance companies sometimes avoid paying claims because of fuzzy language in their policies. He says that may soon be eliminated by a new law, the "No Fine Print Initiative," which will require insurance policies written in Michigan to clearly indicate what is covered and what is not.

Insurance companies believe they are being smeared by the report. But attorney Judy Susskind, president of the Michigan Association for Justice, says that when the bottom line is to make money, consumers often get short-changed.

"The insurance industry is in this business for profit. Their interests are not usually aligned with the folks to whom they issue policies."

Hollowell says Michigan residents can expect some new controls on the industry very soon to clamp down on problems with high premiums and unpaid claims.

"The last thing we want, after having paid premiums faithfully, is for the insurance industry to re-traumatize the consumer."

The full report is available online at

Jim Mishler/Don Mathisen, Public News Service - MI