Progressive Insurance said it plans to begin selling personal auto insurance in Massachusetts starting May 1 if state regulators approve the company’s rate filings, which it submitted to the Bay State’s insurance department this morning.
The Mayfield Village, Ohio-based company said it will first offer policies through its Web site, and later through independent agents. Progressive already sells commercial auto coverage in Massachusetts.
Progressive said the rates it filed this morning were an average 18 percent lower than those paid by Massachusetts drivers in 2007.
Cathy Wilton-Bransch, Massachusetts product manager for Progressive, said the company wanted to enter Massachusetts quickly under the new managed competition system, which is why it’s decided to phase in its buying options over time, starting online.
The company said it hoped to begin offering the coverage through independent agents in the Bay State by the second quarter of next year.
“We appreciate the work the Division has done to create a regulatory environment that allows companies to compete for customers,” said Wilton-Bransch. “We hope that come May 1, drivers will check out progressive.com and see what we have to offer.”
Progressive will be a little behind its competitors by entering in May. The state’s existing 19 auto carriers’ competitive rates go into effect April 1. These carriers have already begun marketing their new rates.
One other carrier has indicated an interest in entering the private auto insurance market now that the state has moved to a more competitive system.
Last November, Liberty Mutual Group announced that one of its companies – Keene, N.H.-based Peerless Insurance – would return to the Massachusetts auto insurance market after a 20-year absence.
Peerless Insurance said it would file rates on or after February 15, 2008, and plans to begin offering auto and home insurance through independent agents in the second quarter.
Peerless already sells commercial insurance in the state through about 150 independent agent locations.
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