AIA: Massachusetts Drivers Need a Competitive Auto Insurance Market

May 16, 2005

An auto insurance market where companies can compete on the prices charged and the products provided would benefit Massachusetts drivers, according to the American Insurance Association (AIA).

AIA testified Monday at the Massachusetts Insurance Department’s annual hearing to determine if the “fix and establish” rate setting system should continue to be used in 2006.

“Massachusetts remains the only state where government directly sets uniform rates among carriers for auto insurance,” said Paul Moran, AIA vice president, northeast region. “The result has been fewer insurers participating in the market, fewer choices for consumers, good drivers paying high subsidies for bad drivers and large numbers of drivers forced into the residual market.”

The lack of choice for consumers is demonstrated by the fact that in 1990 there were 53 auto insurers writing in Massachusetts, today that number is 19. And a 2004 Tillinghast actuarial report found that 86 percent of Massachusetts drivers pay more to subsidize the 14 percent higher risk drivers.

“While a finding of competitiveness this year would help, it could be reversed next year. Insurance by its nature is a long term investment. Accordingly, long term pro-competitive reform remains necessary through legislation,” added Moran.

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