Mass. Lawmakers to Hear Romney Auto Insurance Reform Package Today

November 15, 2005

After weeks of television ads by warring factions of insurance companies and public forums on the road by some legislators, the Massachusetts Financial Services Committee today will hold the first public hearing at the State House on Gov. Mitt Romney’s proposal to relax regulation of auto insurance rates and regulations.

Romney unveiled his plan in June to end what he called the “Soviet-style” current system under which the state tightly controls how rates are set and high risk losses distributed.

Since then, insurance companies have gone public with disagreements over the reforms and taken to the airwaves and Internet to drum up support for their positions. One coalition that is backed by some of the market share leaders, including Commerce Insurance Co. and Arbella Insurance, prefers the current system. Another, representing 12 other insurers, supports changes.

Insurance agents have come out against Romney’s deregulation proposal as well.

Attorney General Tom Reilly, a Democrat who is running for governor, weighed in at the last minute to oppose Romney’s plan, although he has in the past supported changes to the way high risks are handled.

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