For Immediate Release - October 03, 2011

Motorcycle Owners to Receive Additional $5.6 Million in Insurance Refunds Through Settlement Obtained by AG Coakley’s Office

BOSTON – More than $5.6 million in additional insurance refunds are headed back to Massachusetts motorcycle owners as a result of the latest settlements with insurers for allegedly overcharging policyholders, Attorney General Martha Coakley announced today.  In total, 15 insurance companies have settled with the Attorney General and have agreed to return nearly $40 million to Massachusetts consumers. 

“We are pleased that our investigation, which began with a single consumer complaint, has resulted in the return of nearly $40 million to Massachusetts motorcycle owners,” said Attorney General Coakley. “We are very concerned that the auto insurers in this state were able to overcharge so many Massachusetts consumers on such a large scale.”

Today’s three settlements center around allegations that the insurance companies illegally overcharged their Massachusetts customers for years by using inflated and un-depreciated motorcycle values to calculate insurance premiums.  The Attorney General’s Office reached similar settlements with twelve other insurance companies last year.  

Under the terms of today’s settlements, Premier Insurance Company of Massachusetts (“Travelers”) will make refunds totaling $5,000,386; American Automobile Insurance Company (“Fireman’s Fund”) will refund $571,394; and Electric Insurance Company (“Electric”) will return $123,882 to Massachusetts policyholders.  Collectively, the three insurance companies are required to send out more than 14,000 refund checks in late October. The average refund check will be around $400, however:

  • 1,424 refund checks will be over $1,000
  • 2,031 refund checks will be between $501 and $1000
  • 2,627 refund checks will be between $251 and $500
  • 3,579 refund checks will be between $100 and $250
  • 4,488 refund checks will be under $100

All fifteen related settlements stem from a single consumer complaint filed with the Attorney General’s Office.   That consumer owned a 1999 Harley-Davidson Road King Classic.  In each year between 2003 and 2008, the  insurance company calculated the consumer’s premiums as if his 1999 Road King Classic were brand new and worth $20,000.  By 2003, however, the consumer’s four year old motorcycle was worth significantly less than its original $20,000 price, and by 2008, the nine-year old motorcycle was worth less than $12,000.  Still, in each year between 2003 and 2008, the consumer’s insurance company used the inflated $20,000 value to rate his policy, resulting in more than $1,500 in overcharges.  For more information about how the overcharges occurred, including charts depicting the overcharges, visit http://www.mass.gov/ago/motorcycles.

In order to be eligible for a refund under the Attorney General’s settlements, a consumer must have purchased comprehensive and/or collision insurance coverage for a motorcycle on or after January 1, 2002 and that motorcycle must have been overvalued by the insurance company for the purpose of calculating premiums.  Consumers who think they may be entitled to a refund can use the Attorney General’s Motorcycle Insurance Refund Lookup Webpage at www.motorcycle.ago.state.ma.us to find out whether they are eligible, and if so, how much they are entitled to receive.

Consumers who have questions about the settlements or their refunds may visit the Attorney General’s Motorcycle Insurance Settlements FAQ or call the Attorney General’s Insurance & Financial Services Division at 1-888-830-6277.

The Attorney General regularly advocates for consumers and businesses on insurance matters.  Most recently, the Attorney General’s Office conducted a study of the commercial auto insurance market which found that Massachusetts businesses have overpaid for insurance by one billion dollars over the past seven years.

Today’s settlements were handled by Investigations Supervisor Arwen Thoman, Mathematician Burt Feinberg, Economist Bryan Lincoln, and Assistant Attorney General Glenn Kaplan, Chief of Attorney General Coakley’s Insurance & Financial Services Division.  The original consumer complaint was handled by Mediator Rebecca Dutra also of Attorney General Coakley’s Insurance & Financial Services Division.

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