Washington Touts Saving Public $300 Million for Personal Insurance

December 29, 2009

Rate reviews by the Washington state insurance commissioner’s office have shaved more than $300 million from Washingtonians’ auto and homeowners insurance bills over the past decade.

Last week the commissioner’s office reported that it had saved consumers $26 million in their automobile insurance rates over the first 10 months of this year. The office also noted that it reduced rate increase requests by $44 million in 2008.

“Few people know about this process, but it’s a crucial part of our consumer-protection role,” said Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler. “By carefully vetting requested rate increases, we save people substantial money on their premiums.”

In order to change rates, some insurers in Washington must get approval from the state insurance commissioner’s office. The companies produce data and calculations showing their justification for the requested rate. The state’s actuaries then review the request.

Each request is viewed on a case-by-case basis. Some are approved as requested. But many of the approved rates end up lower than what the companies originally requested. The changes can save policyholders millions of dollars a year.

For example, from 2000 through Nov. 30, 2009, rate reviews by the Office of the Insurance Commissioner trimmed more than $55 million from proposed homeowners’ insurance rates.

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