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Detroit Business and Insurance Defense Law Blog

Court decision likely to bring changes for patients, medical providers and no-fault insurers

No-fault insurance is a requirement here in Michigan, and every driver is required to carry minimum coverage amounts. Drivers may, of course, purchase higher coverage amounts and additional options for coverage. An essential aspect of any no-fault policy, though, is personal injury protection, which obligates insurance companies to pay all of their insured’s medical costs.

Under Michigan law, automobile insurers have the obligation to pay valid claims and medical bills within 30 days or they face penalty interest payments. Accidents victims who aren’t covered properly have the right to sue their insurance company for no-fault benefits under the terms of their policy. Often, though, it is medical providers who file these lawsuits. 

Work with experienced attorney when forming captive insurance company

Previously, we began looking at the potential benefits for businesses of forming a captive insurance company. As we noted last time, the timing of a captive insurance company’s formation is important to consider when forming a captive insurance company.

Before insurance coverage can begin, all the proper documentation must be drawn up and submitted to the state, the corporate entity must actually be formed and capitalized, and the captive must be licensed. The earlier in the fiscal year a business forms a captive insurance company, the more the business can to benefit in that particular year. 

What is captive insurance and why is it beneficial for businesses?

For businesses, managing risks is critical to ensuring the financial success of the company. There are a variety of ways business can address risks, and insurance coverage is an important one. While ordinary commercial plays an important role, business can often benefit from alternative insurance options, such as captive insurance.

Captive insurance is coverage provided by an insurance company completely owned and controlled by the insured business. The purpose of a captive insurance company is to address risks that aren’t adequately covered with ordinary insurance coverage, but an added benefit is that businesses that form captive insurance companies are able to keep the rights and investment income on capital used to fund insurance. 

Work with experienced legal counsel to ensure compliance with insurance industry regulations

In our previous post, we briefly discussed the widespread concern at present in the insurance industry—specifically, among large insurance companies—over the nearing departure of the man who represents the insurance industry on the Financial Stability Oversight Council. As we noted, the presence of an insurance expert on the council is seen as important to represent the industry and help ensure that fair decisions are made with respect to insurance industry regulation.

Although regulation of the insurance industry at the federal has increased over the years, insurance companies are still mostly regulated at the state level. Compliance with state regulatory requirements is an important task for insurance companies, not only to protect themselves from legal liabilities, but also to earn a strong reputation for fair business dealings with consumers. 

Large insurance companies fear lack of industry expertise on federal council

Large insurance companies are reportedly fretting about the upcoming departure of an important figure on the Financial Stability Oversight Council, the federal body responsible for monitoring the stability of the national financial system. For readers who are not aware, the Council was established under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, and has the aim of identifying and responding to risks to financial stability at a national level.

To this end, the Council relies on the expertise of federal and state financial regulators, as well as an independent insurance expert appointed by the President. Roy Woodall, the man who is currently serving as the independent voting member on the Council with expertise in the insurance industry, is set to leave when his term ends this September, and this has larger insurers concerned.

Employment at-will, wrongful termination and resolving employment disputes, P.2

Last time, we began looking at the rule of at-will employment, and some exceptions to the rule under federal and state law. In addition to the exceptions we've already mentioned, there is another important exception to the rule: contractual modification of the rule.

Employment contracts, particularly for high-level employees, often do make modifications on the at-will employment rule. Typically, these agreements give the employee bolstered job security by requiring the employer to provide a just reason for termination, or to follow a set procedure before terminating the employee. Whatever the specifics of the agreement, the employer is not able to terminate the relationship unconditionally. 

Employment at-will, wrongful termination and resolving employment disputes

For most people, job security is an important feature—or desired feature—of their work, and yet many people do not realize that the general rule of employment is that it is at-will. This means that, just as an employee can terminate the employment relationship at any time, for any reason, employers also generally have the same right.

At-will employment is the default rule in every state except Montana, where employees have greater protections from termination. The general rule of at-will employment does admit of certain exceptions, though, and some of these are quite important. First of all, two important exceptions are illegal discrimination and retaliation. 

Recently passed law requires licensure for all Michigan midwives, P.2

In our previous post, we began discussing a new Michigan law which requires all midwives throughout the state to obtain licensure in order to practice midwifery. The idea behind the requirement is to ensure that women and their babies are protected by ensuring better oversight of the practice of midwifery throughout the state.

As with any other profession, midwives face unique challenges and are exposed to unique liabilities. Like other health care professionals, midwives have to consider the scope of their practice and implement appropriate boundaries, keeping especially in mind the prohibitions imposed on them by law. This includes abiding by the rules for prescribing medications, for midwives who have the ability to do so. 

Recently passed law requires licensure for all Michigan midwives

Most women choose to have their families in a hospital setting with an experienced team of nurses and physicians to assist them in their delivery. In some cases, women may make use of a nurse midwife in a hospital setting. Nevertheless, the vast majority of women choose to be in a hospital when they give birth.

A small percentage of women do opt to deliver at home, though, and make use of midwife services in doing so. In Michigan, there are several types of midwives: Certified Nurse Midwives; Direct-Entry Midwives; and Certified Professional Midwives.  

Mental incapacity and its potential impact on your estate, P.3

We’ve been discussing in recent posts strategies for addressing potential incapacity in estate planning. That this is an important thing to do is certain, as it can help ensure not only that estate planning documents clearly express the known wishes of the estate owner, but also that an the proper steps are taken for the management of financial affairs and health care decisions.

Another potential strategy for addressing potential incapacity, besides those we’ve already mentioned, is to establish a living trust for mental incapacity. A living trust is a trust created during the lifetime of the grantor, and in which the trustee is the grantor and also the sole lifetime beneficiary of the trust. The grantor names a successor trustee for the trust in case the grantor loses mental capacity to manage the assets, as well as successor beneficiaries to receive the assets at the grantor’s death.

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