Menominee and Marinette: A tale of two cities

Categories: LaFave News

By state Rep. Beau LaFave of Iron Mountain

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the era of reasonable car insurance rates, it was the era of highest-in-the-nation car insurance rates.

Make no mistake – while Menominee, Mich. and Marinette, Wisc. have a rich, shared history throughout the years, we are divided by the cost of car insurance.

For drivers who live there, crossing the Menominee River means a $1,000 swing in the cost of car insurance. In these terms, the grass on one side of the river is much greener than the other. Unfortunately, the greener side is not Michigan’s.

Every day, many Menominee residents drive to Marinette for work, frustrated by the reality that they are paying more than double for insurance than their neighbors in Wisconsin. This reality is driving residents out of the state, across the river to Marinette, where the cost of insuring their vehicles is less than half the price.

None other than Michigan’s failed no-fault car insurance system is to blame. This failed system not only places a heavy burden on Upper Peninsula drivers, it kills economic growth in border communities like Menominee.

Average annual car insurance premiums in Michigan are $2,239. By contrast, average plans cost $1084 in Wisconsin. This is a tell-tale sign of why workforce talent is leaving Menominee for Marinette. We are seeing this all across Michigan, and it’s by far the largest issue holding our state hostage.

Menominee drivers are no less deserving of having their car insurance rates affordable than Marinette motorists. That is why the need for reforming Michigan’s car insurance system couldn’t be more pressing for every city in the Upper Peninsula.

I’ve heard the loud cries of hard-working families calling for change to our car insurance system. I, too, want change, and I’ve led an uphill battle to make car insurance more affordable for every motorist across the state – only to be met with fire and fury of those profiting from the status quo. Michigan families are hurting, and it’s well past time we deliver them reduced rates.

The Michigan House is dedicated to crafting a lasting remedy to drivers, and have taken an important step of creating the bipartisan House Select Committee on Reducing Car Insurance Rates on which I am honored to serve as a member of.

We just recently launched a new website,, where Michigan drivers can easily offer input that will help us craft a solution.

If we are going to make reforms that better serve the interests of Upper Peninsula families, it only makes sense to hear from the very people being affected by the nation’s costliest car insurance.

I look forward to hearing from you, and making sure it’s just the Menominee River dividing the cities of Menominee and Marinette.

Let’s make this the best times, the age of wisdom, and the era of affordable car insurance rates for all.