Massachusetts Commissioner Caps Premium Increase for Riskiest Drivers

September 9, 2009

Massachusetts Insurance Commissioner Nonnie Burnes has laid out what she sees as the “fair” range of auto insurance premium increases for those drivers insured through the state’s residual market.

In a letter to Commonwealth Automobile Reinsurers (CAR), the industry-run board that oversees the high-risk auto market, Burnes said she remains committed to the state’s system of managed competition and also in minimizing the number of risks insured through the residual market system. The constraints she offered would be for policies with effective dates after April 1, 2010 — the second anniversary date of the state’s switch to managed competition.

Burnes states she will “find a CAR private passenger motor vehicle insurance rate filing to be unfair, umeasonable and in violation of public policy if it results in an increase of more than 2 percent to the current base rates for bodily injury liability, personal injury protection, or property damage liability” for insureds who meet certain conditions. Specificallty, she mentioned drivers who have been continuously insured during the previous 12 months and the have not accrued more than four merit rating points and have not had a claim paid on more than one accident during the previous three years.

Those who meet those conditions, Burnes told CAR, should receive 10 percent discounts on some portions of their policies

Burnes also said she would find a filing to be unfair if it includes an increase of more than 15 percent to the average base rates for collision and comprehensive coverages.

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