Mass. Agents Seek 18% Auto Commission Boost

Massachusetts insurance agents are asking for an 18 percent boost in private passenger auto insurance commissions for 2006. If approved, the request would raise the average commission from $119.50 to $141.23.

The Massachusetts Association of Insurance Agents submitted its filing to the Division of Insurance this week as part of the annual rate-setting process.

Last year, the state approved a 4.8 percent average increase, which elevated the average commission per vehicle from $114.00 in 2004 to $119.50 for 2005.

The MAIA request for 2006 is actually lower than what the group sought for 2005 when it proposed a $151 commission.

The MAIA filing is based on an agency cost study of more than 150 agencies conducted by Tillinghast Towers Perrin. The most recent study reflects changes made in response to criticisms from Insurance Commissioner Julianne Bowler in her decision last year.

As part of the annual process, the State Rating Bureau and the state attorney general traditionally also make commission recommendations. For 2005, the attorney general recommended that agents’ commissions be frozen at $114 per vehicle while the SRB said the average commission should increase to $119, or about 5 percent.

Last week, citing a drop in claims, the Automobile Insurers Bureau of Massachusetts filed its rate on behalf of insurance companies. The proposal calls for a -0.1 percent rate decrease, or about $4 million reduction statewide.