For Immediate Release - February 10, 2011

AG Coakley Urges Rejection of Progressive's Proposed 23.5% Rate Hike for Commercial Motor Vehicles

Taxis, Trucks and Small Business Vehicles Facing Drastic Increase in Insurance Premiums

BOSTON - In a letter to the Division of Insurance, Attorney General Martha Coakley's Office asked the state agency to reject Progressive Insurance's planned 23.5% rate increase for commercial auto insurance.

In the letter, the Attorney General's Office stressed that Progressive's proposed rates were excessive and unfair to Massachusetts businesses and that the information Progressive used to support its rate hike was inconsistent with its proposal. The letter notes that the company's request contradicted its actual claims history, as well as Massachusetts' overall claims history. The projections are unsupported, and Progressive has refused to provide the Attorney General's Office key data or answer questions about its calculations.

Progressive had initially filed seeking an even higher rate hike, a 26.6% increase. The company reduced this to 23.5% after the Attorney General raised concerns and asked to see the supporting data. As noted in the Attorney General's letter, this increase is still unjustified.

"High commercial auto rates can cause significant harm to small businesses," said Attorney General Coakley. "We believe Progressive's proposed increase is unjustified and an unfair rate hike on small businesses across Massachusetts."

Commercial auto insurance is required for all businesses that operate vehicles in Massachusetts, including taxis, trucks, and service vans. Last year, Progressive sold approximately $22 million worth of commercial auto insurance in Massachusetts. Progressive, which entered the Massachusetts automobile insurance market in 2007 currently holds 3% of the market for commercial auto policies in Massachusetts.

If the Commissioner approves the rate hike, Progressive's new rates will become effective on March 24th. This would be Progressive's fifth commercial rate increase in three and a half years.