D. Joseph Olson


D. Joseph Olson is a member of the Board of Directors of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Olson is a co-founder of the Mackinac Center and served as chairman for most of its history through the end of 2012. He has since retired from Amerisure.

Olson received his J.D. from Santa Clara University in 1975 after being employed in the underwriting departments of The Insurance Company of North America and Allstate Insurance Company for 10 years. He worked in the legal department of United Services Automobile Association until becoming Vice President and General Counsel of Citizens Insurance Company of America in 1979. Olson was appointed Michigan Commissioner of Insurance by Governor John Engler in mid-1995. In 1997, he joined the Amerisure Insurance Companies as Senior Vice President & General Counsel, and assumed the position in 2001 of Senior Vice President & Counsel – Government Relations. Amerisure is a commercial lines group writing midmarket accounts primarily in the Midwest and South.

Olson was inducted into the Michigan Insurance Hall of Fame in August 2011.

From D. Joseph Olson

Reforming Michigan’s Auto Insurance Industry

Reforming Michigan’s Auto Insurance Industry

Michigan auto insurance premiums are among the highest in the nation. The American Association of Retired Persons, in a recent survey, found that Michigan’s premiums were the second highest in the nation, behind only Louisiana. This, combined with a statutory requirement to purchase insurance, has led to legislative attempts to keep premiums down. Unfortunately, state lawmakers have pursued an approach that includes price controls, regulation of how premiums may be set, and requirements for insurance companies to provide specific types of coverage. As the famous Austrian economist Ludwig von Mises pointed out decades ago, this kind of government intervention, while well-intended, leads to unintended consequences that then lead to further government interventions, further unintended consequences, in a lengthy cycle with results that no legislator would have expected at the beginning.
Rather than attempting to regulate insurance company and individual behavior, Michigan legislators would much better serve the people they represent by examining why insurance premiums are so high in the first place, in order to address the problem at its source. A careful study of Michigan’s insurance market and the regulations governing it indicates that no-fault insurance and the legislative requirement for individuals to purchase unlimited personal injury protection are two important reasons for the increased costs of providing insurance coverage in Michigan. The good news is that it is possible to reduce these costs and reduce the number of drivers who take the risk of violating the law and do not purchase insurance. … more

Mental Health Parity Could Decrease Access to Affordable Insurance

Government health-care mandates to help the uninsured too often drive up premiums and place insurance out of reach of more people. … more

"Arts Ogres" and Killer Bees

The vocal art subsidy lobby in Michigan shows its elitism and intolerance by trashing those who oppose massive subsidies. … more