Arbella, Premier Get Green Light for 2008 Mass. Auto Rates

February 4, 2008

Massachusetts Insurance Commissioner Nonnie Burnes has upheld the 2008 auto insurance rate filings of Arbella Mutal, which proposed an overall rate decrease of 7.7 percent, and Premier (Travelers), which filed for an average 6.3 percent decrease.

She rejected Attorney General Martha Coakley’s complaints that the companies’ rates are too high.

These two rulings follows Burnes’ earlier rulings that upheld rates filed by several of the state’s largest auto insurers — Commerce, Safety and Hanover — also over Coakley’s objections.

The Arbella and Premier rulings are the last in response to challenges lodged by Coakley to filings made by five of 19 insurers.

Until this year, auto insurers had their rates fixed and established by the insurance commissioner. But beginning in April, 2008, insurers are being allowed to compete using their own rates under a new managed competition system. Insurers file individual rates which become effective unless the commissioner disapproves them.

The AG has the right to trigger rate hearings on individual insurer rate filings she deems excessive, which Coakley did in the cases of the five insurers, but the final decisions rest with the commissioner.

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