November 3, 1999
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: CHRISTOPHER GOETCHEUS
(617) 521-7333

Agreement Approved In 2000 Personal Auto Insurance Rates

(BOSTON, MA) Massachusetts Insurance Commissioner Linda L. Ruthardt today affirmed an agreement reached by the parties in the 2000 Personal Auto Insurance rate case that will result in a less than 1% increase (+0.7%) in the statewide average rate policyholders will pay next year. The agreement reached by the State Rating Bureau, the Attorney General's office and insurers means there will be a second consecutive year with only a nominal increase, averaging about $6.14 per vehicle.

"Drivers should remember that the foundation of the rates is the data motorists generate through their driving habits. The frequency and cost of claims are still the most important factors in determining what we must pay. Defensive driving saves lives and money," said Commissioner Ruthardt.

Earlier this year, insurers recommended an increase for next year of about $235 million or a 7.8% increase over 1999. The end result is an agreement to an overall increase for 2000 of approximately $21 million. Under the terms of a stipulated agreement, the parties waive all rights of appeal in the 2000 Private Passenger Auto Insurance rate case.

Following is a summary of changes for consumers:

  • Credit has been increased from 6% to 7% for drivers with Safe Driver Insurance Plan (SDIP) Steps 9 through 14 who buy collision coverage. Beginning January 1st, the average Step 9 driver will realize a savings of $11.50 for that coverage.
  • The average statewide premium will rise just 0.7% or $6.14 per vehicle
  • Agents agreed in September to limit the increase in their commissions to just $1 per policy.
  • There are no changes in territorial assignments in 2000.
  • Information concerning any voluntary discounts will be available sooner. Over the next 30 days, insurers may file for permission to charge less than the rate established as a result of the hearing. It is possible that some, if not all, hearings for "safe driver" discounts could be completed prior to December 31, 1999. The Division's website will again be regularly updated as applications are filed and decisions issued. The Division's website can be accessed at www.mass.gov/doi .