Mass. Senators Urge Delay in High Risk Changes

October 11, 2004

In a letter to Massachusetts Insurance Commissioner Julianne M. Bowler, 18 state senators have expressed concern over her plans to revamp the state’s high risk pool, known as CAR (Commonwealth Auto Reinsurers) through regulation.

The senators urged Bowler to postpone changes until there is a formal ruling on whether the changes require legislative approval.

“We feel that it is our duty and responsibility as senators and representatives to be the ultimate decision makers on policies such as this based on their wide-reaching impact on all of our constituents,” the senators wrote. They asked Bowler to seek a formal legal opinion on whether legislative action is necessary.

Senator Joan M. Menard (D, Somerset) told the Boston Globe she wrote the letter after Bowler declined to meet with senators.

Attorney General Thomas F. Reilly has previously stated that Bowler’s efforts in reforming the high risk pool are legal and within her authority.

Gov. Mitt Romney has also appointed a task force that includes lawmakers to look into other changes to the auto insurance system that would require legislative action.

Eric Fehrnstrom, a spokesman for Romney, dismissed the sentors’ concerns, telling the Boston Globe: “The insurance commissioner should be allowed to do her job. These are the same concerns raised by Commerce Insurance and the other opponents of change. They are baseless. It’s important that we begin the job of reform now.”

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