For Immediate Release:
August 11, 2014

Contact: Eric Lupher
734.542.8001

CRC Recognized for Quality Research by National Association

The Citizens Research Council of Michigan was recognized for the quality of its research at the annual meeting of the Governmental Research Association (GRA). GRA is the national organization of individuals professionally engaged in governmental research. The Association works to foster the establishment of governmental research agencies, aid and coordinate the activities of governmental research agencies, facilitate the exchange of ideas and experiences among the professional staff of such agencies, and undertake other related activities.

Nicole-GRA-2014No Fault Paper. At GRA’s 100th annual meeting on August 5, CRC’s October 2013 publication Medical Costs of No-fault Automobile Insurance was awarded the association’s highest award for Most Effective Education. This award recognizes research that excels in educating the public and/or public officials on governmental matters.

Since 1973, Michigan drivers have been required to purchase personal injury protection insurance, which pays for unlimited medical costs for drivers injured in an auto accident, regardless of fault. The intent of this insurance system was to reduce the number of disputes, fraudulent claims, and litigation associated with auto accidents compared to a tort-based insurance system. While successful in meeting some important policy goals, no-fault insurance premiums and associated medical costs have proven to be more expensive than the associated costs in all other types of auto insurance systems. Accounting for both higher prices and higher usage, medical claims in Michigan cost auto insurers 57 percent more than claims for similar crashes in other states; consequently, automobile insurance premiums are 17 percent higher on average.

Many groups have dived into this topic but CRC’s paper was the first to look at the medical costs associated with no-fault auto insurance in Michigan in such depth. The research uncovered that medical spending related to auto accidents is higher than for other types of medical spending because: 1) auto insurers pay higher prices for medical services than general health insurance providers; 2) auto accident victims use more medical services following auto accidents than victims in other states; and 3) state statute requires that auto insurers reimburse the injured for medical expenses for lifetime medical expenses associated with the injury, with no dollar limit.

Response to CRC’s publication of this report was immense. Within the week following publication, CRC’s report was cited by the Associated Press and in over 19 articles from all over the state, and CRC was interviewed on numerous radio shows and on a local news station. CRC was invited to present the findings of the report to a joint special session for the state House and Senate Insurance Policy committees. CRC also met with Representative Lund, the chair of the House Insurance Committee, to discuss the topic and legislation introduced earlier in the current legislation session.

The report was downloaded over 32,000 times in the first two weeks, demonstrating both the public’s desire to learn about the topic and the reach of the report itself.

Over the course of the first month following the report’s publication, the report or interviews with CRC were quoted in 26 news articles. The report was mentioned in 14 articles discussing the topic. In total that month, CRC was mentioned, quoted, or cited by 25 news publications in over 40 articles. Several of these articles discussed the report itself along with its findings and many of the articles reported on our presentation to the legislature or referenced our report with a discussion of the topic.

Ballot Question Reform. CRC was also recognized at the GRA Annual Meeting with a Certificate of Merit for Most Distinguished Research for its January 2014 report Reform of Michigan’s Ballot Question Process. The award recognizes the challenge of the subject matter, the degree to which the study is ground-breaking, and how well the basic purpose of the report is carried out.

We believe the report represents ground breaking research on this topic in Michigan. It required an analysis of election law issues related to the initiative and referendum, and no study of this nature had been done in Michigan nor in the other states that allow for initiative and referendum. While Michigan is the focus of this study, the multi-state analysis performed for this report makes it pertinent to these other states as well.

The report recommended reforms in a number of places throughout Michigan’s initiative and referendum process. The primary recommendation was for Michigan’s process for certifying petitions for the ballot to conform to the processes used in almost every other state with initiatives and referendums: a front-loaded process that identifies potential legal and process issues before petitions are circulated to allow for alterations before millions of dollars are spent obtaining petition signatures. CRC also recommended changes to the state’s campaign finance laws to bring greater transparency to the process.

CRC’s 98th Annual Meeting

The 98th Annual Meeting of the Citizens Research Council of Michigan is a month away. The September 12 event will begin at 11:30 at the Detroit Athletic Club. The event features poster sessions designed to showcase CRC’s research over the past year and Dr. Thomas Sugrue offering his thoughts on Revitalizing Michigan’s Cities. To purchase individual tickets for the annual meeting online, go to: www.crcmich.org/2014am.html.

Founded in 1916, CRC works to improve government in Michigan. The organization provides factual, unbiased, independent information concerning significant issues of state and local government organization, policy, and finance. By delivery of this information to policymakers and citizens, CRC aims to ensure sound and rational public policy formation in Michigan. For more information, visit www.crcmich.org.

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