We make available the opportunity for consumers to schedule an appointment at our office with an appropriate regulation analyst to review the filings that have been submitted by insurers. Currently, over three quarters of the filings we receive are in paper form and we have no ability to convert these filings for website viewing. The other third are sent through an electronic system (SERFF) that will not allow viewing at any location other than our agency office (North Ottawa Tower 3rd Floor, Lansing MI, corner of Pine and Ottawa Streets).
We make available at our office a public information terminal from which SERFF filings can be viewed during a scheduled appointment time. Also, when we can specifically ascertain what a requester wants and that we have it on file we will mail paper copies at a cost of 25 cents per page plus postage and handling. This may require that you post a deposit with us before we mail materials to you. Contact us at 877-999-6442 to schedule an appointment and/or request copies.
Protecting consumers requires that this agency review the materials submitted by insurers to, as best we are able, determine whether they comply with Michigan law. The vast majority of consumers would not know what an insurer can or cannot do in relation to filed materials and underwriting and rating transactions because they would not be familiar with all the mandatory requirements and prohibited actions in Michigan law.
To help consumers better understand coverage, we have buyers guides for home and personal auto insurance and insurance brochures on our website at the link below that display sample rates (at the time the guide was published) for a large number of insurers to show consumers the large difference that an applicant would find from the lowest to the highest rates for essentially the same coverage. For example, using substantially similar characteristics the premium for Company A may be $390 every six months while the premium for Company B may be $2500.
In addition, our agency provides a complaint division that accepts consumer complaints and reviews them (where possible) to determine if insurers have acted appropriately or inappropriately. You can file a complaint or call 877-999-6442. After this process has run its course, consumers can take further action (if needed) by requesting a hearing against the insurer before an administrative law judge and appeal any decisions not in his/her favor to circuit court, appeals court, etc.
The type of information and processes described above help educate consumers and show them how to take action where they believe they have been wronged and not received an acceptable coverage or service from their insurer.
Final premiums are made from the rates assigned to many different rating characteristics. These characteristics will vary based on the type of insurance. In addition, insurers do not submit commercial insurance filings to OFIR when they have exempted the coverage pursuant to MCL 500.2236(8)(e)(ii), 500.2401(2)(d), and/or 500.2601(3)(f). Even if all rates could be posted, which they cannot at this time, it is no easy matter to go through an entire manual for any particular type of coverage and put all the characteristics together along with their rates.
Doing this manually (as inquiring consumers would be forced to do because we do not receive nor does Michigan law require insurers to provide computer formulas for assigning characteristics and calculating premiums using the associated rates) would take hours on end for the most astute person, especially given the fact that manuals from each company vary in their design and when and where they use characteristics and associated rates for determining final premium.
When insurers make filings they rarely submit entire programs. Usually, they file revised pieces of their manuals throughout the year in no certain order (one or two rules/rates out of a hundred, etc.). So, posting each filing would not give you all you need to develop a premium for comparison purposes. You would have to look at a variety of filings submitted over many previous years in order to put together all the rules and rates used by the company.
Also, rating characteristics like insurance credit score do not allow this agency or consumers to calculate their score and thus they would be unable to calculate final premium for a policy for insurance that use such a characteristic. The Commissioner has been on record as opposed to this rating characteristic for personal insurance (personal auto, home, etc.). She has also developed an administrative rule to remove the criteria from rating plans and has appealed a decision by a Michigan circuit court that allows insurers to continue to utilize this characteristic.
For all the reasons explained above, we do not have the capability to display coverage rates on our website, but do indeed provide opportunities for comparing rates for some coverage and complaint resolution as described above. We look forward to enhancing technology in the future to help us with our regulatory responsibilities, consumer protection, and information enhancement.
If you desire to review rule, rate, and form filings that have been submitted to us, please contact the Product Review Unit for property/casualty coverage and the Health Plans Division for life/health coverage at 877-999-6442. We will put you in contact with an analyst who can explain what we have available and send you requested materials (if we have it) or schedule an appointment for you to look at filed material, when necessary.