The Michigan Doily-Saturday, June 10, 1978-Page 11
Insurance head cites flaws in no-fault law
By MICHAEL ARKUSH
The chairman of the state's Insuran-
ce Bureau yesterday praised a
Michigan Supreme Court ruling that
calls for changes in the state's no-fault
auto insurance law as "a strong im-
petus to get a bill that will be fair to all
Thomas Jones, the bureau's head,
said the court's decision will "make it
easier for the legislature to pass a new
no-fault insurance plan."
THE DECISION, issued Thursday,
upheld the constitutionality of the
current no-fault insurance law, but said
the law has "serious flaws that must be
corrected within 18 months."
The court attacked the measures
which the present law uses to deter-
mine premium rates.
"These measures are, unfortunately,
inadequate to protect individual
motorists, who must purchase no-fault
insurance from private insurers, from
potentially unfair insurance rates, in-
surance refusal or cancellation," the
JONES SAID the court's decision will
strongly push the Michigan legislature
to adopt a new no-fault law when it
reconvenes in September. He explained
the House had already set a ceiling on
any more bills to be sent from commit-
tees to the full House in the next few
weeks before the chamber recesses
The new no-fault bill sits in the In-
surance Committee. An aide to com-
mittee chairman Rep. Matthew Mc-
Neely (D-Detroit) said the committee
had previously discussed the legislation
but would have to review it con-
siderably to accommodate the court's
Jones said the basic provisions of the
new law would stipulate that all com-
panies would be required to offer no-
fault insurance at equal rates for con-
sumers in similar situations.
'FOR EXAMPLE, if two customers
have the same kind of cars, the com-
panies would be obligated to offer the
same rates. This would mean they
would have to judge objectively to con-
sider the rates given to consumers and
not subjectively as in the present law,"
Jones said 70 per cent of the state's
auto insurance companies oppose any
change to the existing law. He said the
companies have maintained the new
law would violate their freedom in the
Representatives from Allstate and
Travelers, companies which have lob-
bied extensively to preserve the current
law, refused to comment on the court
decision yesterday because they said
they had not finished evaluating the
court's ruling. .
But the Automobile Club of Michigan
released a statement yesterday ex-
pressing approval of the ruling.
"We agree with the court's ruling and
urge passage of an essential insuranxce
bill," said Clifford Benson, the club's
insurance group general manager.
The thickness of the earth's crust
varies from about four miles in places
under the oceans to about 30 miles
beneath high mountains.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Sen.
Howard Baker was certified for Ten-
nessee's Aug. 3 primary ballot yester-
day, one day after the state's
Democratic-controlled Election Com-
mission refused to approve his petition
on grounds his signature might have
Baker, the Senate minority leader
who is running for his third term, had
threatened court action Thursday after
the five-member commission refused to
approve his qualifying petition.
The commission took only 15 minutes
to certify the senator's candidaacy
INFORMED OF the action at his
home in Huntsville, Baker said, "Ob-
viously I'm pleased that they reversed
themselves and certified my petition.
"Politics is a tough business, it really
is. It's a shame it gets tougher when
things like this happen. I guess you
have to expect things like this. I hope
it's not a harbinger of things to come."
The senator declined to comment on
whether the publicity surrounding the
commission's earlier stand would help
or hurt his campaign.
THE COMMISSION was furnished
with an affidavit, signed by Baker
earlier in the day and attested to by
Scott County Court Clerk Lloyd Cross.
It related Baker's account of how he
signed the petition in his Washington of-
fice May 25, the day before it was filed
in the Tennessee Capitol complex.
Commission Chairman Richard
Holcomb of Chattanooga, a Democrat,
said the commission did not really
reverse its position of Thursday, since
"no action was taken, one way or the
Had the commission stood its ground,
it would have prevented Baker, a 1980
presidential prospect and the nation's
highest-ranking elected Republican of-
ficial, from being listed on the ballots
for the Aug. 3 primary and the Nov. 3
general elections - barring a judicial
THE DEADLINE for filing the
petitions passed June 1. Baker could
have asked voters to give him the
nogtination-and election by writing his
ndfte on the ballot, but sIne vting is .
dorz yachine the chances. of a sue-
cessful write-in campaign are con-
Jack Seaton, one of two Republicans
on the five-member commission, was
absent Thursday and a motion by the
other Republican, Jim Harpster, to cer-
tify Baker's petitions died for lack of a
second. Seaton said he had not been
Fred Thompson, a Nashville lawyer
and minority counsel to the old Senate
Watergate Committee when Baker was
vice chairman, had a lawsuit ready to
file in Chancery Court if needed.
BAKER SAID four persons watched
him sign the petitions in his Washington
office on May 25, the day before they
were filed with state Election Coor-
dinator David Collins, And House
Speaker Ned McWherter, a Democrat,
said, "I've known Sen. Baker a long
time and if he told me he signed his
petition, I would say he's qualified."
Collins and Democratic commission
members conferred yesterday morning
in McWherter's office.
Collins says the "H", "o" and "d" in
"Howard" and the "J" in "Jr." all ap-
peared to be different on the qualifying
petitions than those on other documents
bearing Baker's signature. He said he
did not contact Baker before the
qualifying deadline because it is up to
the commission to decide on a petition's
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