Massachusetts Attorney General Thomas Reilly said yesterday he will push for an auto insurance rate cut in 2001, but said it was premature to discuss how big a decrease is warranted.
Rate hearings are scheduled to begin today, and Reilly wanted to make clear his office will push for a decrease, a safe stance under the circumstances.
The likelihood that Insurance Commissioner Linda Ruthardt will cut rates next year is very high, given that the industry has indicated an increase of just 2.5 percent is warranted. Reilly’s public announcement is a departure from past years, when the attorney general’s office has typically reserved judgment until later in the regulatory process.
“Does this signal a new approach?” he asked yesterday in a telephone call to The Boston Globe. “Yes, it does.” Reilly said his public call for a rate cut at this point in the process was based solely on industry trends he is seeing. But he may be feeling some pressure to take a stronger stand this year.
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