18 of 19 Insurers Amend Mass. Rates; State Plans Outreach

November 29, 2007

Eighteen of the state’s 19 Massachusetts auto insurers amended rate filings for policies with April 2008 effective dates at the state’s Division of Insurance.

The latest filings lowered rates from the origianl filings made on Nov. 19.

The average reduction across 19 companies for policies effective in April 2008 is now -7.8 percent, according to state officials. It was 7.7 percent after the initial filings on Nov. 19.

“Not only are we seeing companies adjust their rates downward even more, we are also seeing them improve their array of policy offerings to stay ahead of their competitors,” said Insurance Commissioner Nonnie S. Burnes. “The promise of better rates for good drivers and better products for everyone is coming to fruition in the Massachusetts auto insurance market and consumers will start to experience these benefits firsthand when they begin to shop around this winter.”

Burnes said her department will be closely scrutinizing the amended filings to make certain that consumers across the state are being treated fairly. The rate review period can extend to 45 days. She sai the division will be examining each company filing to determine whether insurers are, as required, using driving record and experience for primary rating factors, refraining from drawing on banned socioeconomic factors, including education, homeownership and credit information, for rating and underwriting purposes and that the final rates are actuarially sound.

The next round of rate filings for policies with effective dates on or after May 1, 2008 can occur anytime after February 15, 2008.

“Drivers who have policies with April effective dates can expect to receive their renewal notices in the mail – and, if they are good drivers, news of lower rates – by mid-February,” said Burnes.

The department is also planning to launch a website during to help jumpstart comparison shopping among the state’s auto insurers. “We want consumers to be able to go to a central, trusted location so that they can make informed choices about the prices and policies that work best for them,” Burnes said.

In addition to the new consumer website, Burnes said she and her staff will be conducting regional outreach among consumers, agents, legislators and other interested parties “in an effort to offer information and guidance about managed competition’s new rules, inherent benefits and available resources” in the coming weeks and months, timed to coincide with the staggered issuance of renewal notices and policy effective dates.

“We want to get word out to consumers in every corner of the state about the exciting opportunity they now have to take advantage of competitive rates and innovative policies,” said Burnes.

Source: Mass. DOI

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