The first week of May, one of Michigan's major insurers sent a fancy three-color mailing to Michigan households decrying and criticizing the fact that "lawsuits are more common and are resulting in bigger payouts". The company cited no statistical support for this claim, which was made as part of an attempt to persuade families to purchase more expensive coverage to protect their own family and its assets.
Sadly, the entire premise of the claim is completely false. Following extensive insurance "reforms" and a "reform" campaign by Michigan jurists, the number of injury claims is substantially reduced state-wide. For example, despite significant population growth in Grand Traverse County since 1991, the actual number of personal injury lawsuits IS LOWER THAN IT WAS FIFTEEN YEARS AGO.
Insurers use this form of propaganda to induce consumers to continue to pay high premiums, to prepare them to serve as "stingy" jurors, and to justify additional "reforms". Because the Legislature does not require them to open their books, no one correlates these false claims with insurance company reported record profits (described in the spring 2007 New York Times) and unjustified limits on innocent victim compensation. Consumers deserve to see "reforms" that make the system more fair, rather than more lucrative for corporations.