Holyoke’s Departure Another Blow to Mass. Auto Market Says NAII

June 20, 2003

Holyoke Mutual Insurance Co.’s announcement that it will exit the auto insurance business and has entered into an arrangement to transfer all of its Massachusetts auto insurance business to Plymouth Rock Assurance Corp. (See IJ Website June 19), will leave the Commonwealth with “one less insurer writing auto coverage, further contributing to an already troubled insurance market,” said a bulletin from the National Association of Independent Insurers.

“This latest defection from the Massachusetts auto market is a clear call for reform in the Commonwealth,” stated NAII assistant general counsel Gerald L. Zimmerman. “Luckily for consumers and insurers, Insurance Commissioner Julie Bowler is dedicated to improving the system to end the drain on writers from the market.”

Zimmerman pointed to legislation that would support a reasonable direct repair system as a way to encourage auto insurers to stay in the market. “S.B. 856 provides that an appraiser is not needed when auto damages do not exceed $2,500. The bill also authorizes insurers and appraiser to provide a list of repair facilities that are able to adequately repair a vehicle within the estimate provided by the insurer or appraiser,” said the bulletin.

“This bill would go a long way toward improving the repair mechanism for insurers writing personal lines auto, and would streamline the repair process for consumers as well,” Zimmerman added. “This could be one small improvement toward a better overall market in Massachusetts.”

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