Direct Writers Continue Battle for Massachusetts Auto Market

By | May 19, 2009

Direct writers continue to target the Massachusetts personal auto insurance market, as one major national carrier announced it has written its first policy in the state and another says it will begin writing direct in Massachusetts as early as the fall.

Geico, the third largest auto insurer in the nation, began writing
insurance in the state yesterday, and held an informal reception in Boston to meet and greet local and state officials. The company had announced earlier in the year that it would begin quoting and writing auto insurance in the Bay State this month.

“We have been looking forward to serving Massachusetts drivers for a long time,” said Steve Cunningham, regional vice president, in a statement released by Geico. “We are very happy to be here and doing business with Massachusetts residents. We think we can bring them low rates and great service.”

The first policy was sold to a woman in Whitman, Mass., a bedroom community about 20 miles south of Boston.

Not to be outdone, yesterday, Allstate Insurance Co. said it had filed rates and policy forms with the Massachusetts Division of Insurance to re-enter the Massachusetts auto insurance market after an absence of many years.

Allstate says it is targeting November 2 to begin selling policies.

“People are looking for value and choice,” said George Ruebenson, President of Allstate Protection. “As a company with a solid reputation and a national presence, Allstate will provide

Massachusetts consumers with additional automobile insurance choices from an established insurance provider.”

Allstate said the decision was directly related to changes in the state’s regulatory structure – known as managed competition – that went into effect last year.

“This is the 11th new company to enter the market since then,” said Insurance Commissioner Nonnie Burnes. “Managed competition is designed to bring more choice in cost, coverage and companies to Massachusetts drivers, and this filing further demonstrates that managed competition is working and Massachusetts consumers are reaping the benefits of automobile insurance reform.”

Allstate says Massachusetts consumers will be able to purchase insurance online, as well as through Allstate agencies in Connecticut, New Hampshire and Rhode Island.

Although it’s direct-written brand has been on hiatus for nearly a generation in the state, Allstate is no stranger to the Massachusetts auto market. It’s the parent company of Encompass Insurance, an independent agent-distributed insurer which has been writing in Massachusetts for years.