October 1, 2002
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State Rating Bureau Rejects Auto Insurers Rate Request

SRB Director Perkins Says Any Increase Should Be Small

( BOSTON, MA) The State Rating Bureau today filed its rate recommendation for an average statewide increase of under 2% for private passenger automobile insurance rates in 2003. A review of data by the statistical unit within the Division of Insurance determined that the 7% average statewide increase requested by auto insurers is too high.

"The rate request the State Rating Bureau has filed would lower the industry request by more than 4%, saving policyholders approximately $160 million in 2003," said Wayne C. Perkins, Director of the State Rating Bureau.

While acknowledging that loss experience for private passenger auto has worsened slightly from 2000 to 2001 and that Massachusetts continues to have one of the highest accident frequencies in the nation, Perkins said the insurers are still overstating some projections. "We believe the industry's filing is off-base for expected losses in 2003 for bodily injury and comprehensive coverages as well as insurer expenses," Perkins said.

By law, Insurance Commissioner Julie M. Bowler is to issue a decision in the case by December 15, 2002.