Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley has asked the Division of Insurance to initiate an administrative rate proceeding to review the new auto insurance rates of Premier Insurance Co., a subsidiary of Travelers Insurance.
Premier filed new rates with the Division of Insurance, which allegedly discriminate against consumers based on homeownership, in violation of Bay State regulations. Premier’s new rating system, which went into effect on November 1, takes into consideration a variety of factors when determining what an individual consumer will pay for insurance.
Under Premier’s filing, a consumer who purchases homeowner’s insurance with any insurance carrier can get up to a 5 percent rate reduction; consumers who do not own a home cannot obtain this benefit.
Massachusetts regulations, promulgated by the Division of Insurance, forbid auto insurers from basing rates on income, homeownership, and other surrogates for income, such as education, occupation or marital status.
“Consumers should not be unfairly discriminated against in their purchase of auto insurance,” Coakley said. “When regulations require that insurers not discriminate based on homeownership, it’s important that all of the insurance companies follow these rules and operate on a level playing field. Increased competition has the potential to bring down rates and serve consumers’ interests; however, it’s important for our office to actively protect consumers and to pursue matters when rates are unfair or discriminatory. We will continue to review rate filings and take needed action to protect consumers.”
In the past, the Division of Insurance has approved insurer rate filings that are based in part on whether consumers have home insurance, but these rating methods have allowed consumers to obtain equal rate reductions if they have renter’s insurance instead
Premier’s filing does not treat homeowner’s and renter’s insurance the same.
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