Zorn bills to reduce uninsured drivers

LANSING, Mich. — The Senate Insurance Committee on Wednesday took up Sen. Dale Zorn’s legislation to help lower car insurance costs by reducing the number of uninsured motorists in Michigan.

“The costs of uninsured drivers are passed along to other drivers — contributing to our state’s sky-high auto insurance rates,” said Zorn, R-Ida. “The goal of this legislation is to reduce auto insurance rates and the number of uninsured drivers on our roads by giving law enforcement a real-time tool to better identify drivers without insurance.”

Currently in Michigan, auto insurance companies provide a list of insured vehicles to the state at least once every 14 days. This existing data is also used to create the electronic insurance verification (EIV) code that can be found on secretary of state license renewal applications and can be used by law enforcement when checking a license plate during a traffic stop.

“The problem is that law enforcement does not rely on the information to issue tickets because of the long lag in the data,” Zorn said. “With real-time information, they would be able to more effectively police uninsured drivers — which is estimated to be as much as 20 percent of Michigan drivers.”

Senate Bills 819 and 820 would modernize the current EIV system and implement the recommendations of the 2014 FAIR (Fighting Auto Insurance Rip-offs) task force report.

Under SB 1028, after the director of Department of Insurance and Financial Services (DIFS) certifies that the updated EIV system is operational, the secretary of state’s office would need to use the system to fulfill its insurance verification duties.

“The EIV system has a proven track record of identifying fraud,” Zorn said. “Improving its effectiveness would help us reduce auto insurance fraud and provide much-needed relief to Michigan drivers.”