For Immediate Release - April 29, 2005

Insurance Commissioner Bowler Approves Revisions To Safe Driver Insurance Plan

New SDIP Changes Provide Fairer Valuation of Driver Histories

Insurance Commissioner Julie M. Bowler today approved changes recommended by the State Rating Bureau ("SRB") that more fairly apply discounts and surcharges to auto insurance policies based on driver history. The revised Safe Driver Insurance Plan ("SDIP") will provide discounts for the state's best drivers and offer incentives for bad drivers to improve their driving records and realize lower rates. Scheduled to take effect January 1, 2006, the revised SDIP more closely resembles how insurers evaluate driving records in most other states.

"This is another big step in the right direction for our drivers and our auto insurance system. The SDIP changes will reward good drivers and demonstrate to bad drivers how improved driving can reduce their higher rates in three years time instead of six," said Commissioner Bowler.

These SDIP changes are intended to encourage safe driving through financial incentives, improve consumer understanding of the impact that driving records have on insurance premiums and make rates more reflective of actual driving records without any changes to existing territorial subsidies.

The Commissioner's approval of these changes allows time for issuing required regulation revisions and provides auto insurers with the necessary time to implement the changes. The 2006 SDIP will be finalized following consideration of the values for surcharges and discounts which will be filed with the Division of Insurance as part of the upcoming private passenger auto insurance rate case.

How the revised SDIP will work beginning in 2006:

  • The current SDIP steps of 9 to 35 will be replaced with a point system in which drivers will be assigned points based on at-fault accidents and moving violations incurred in the last five years of driving experience.
  • Point values for minor and major traffic law violations and minor and major at-fault accidents will remain unchanged.
  • The "Clean-in-Three" provision approved in 2005 for experienced drivers with only one at-fault accident or moving violation in the past five years will be expanded in 2006 to include all drivers who have been licensed for at least three years. This reduces the points assigned for surchargeable incidents when a driver has no more than three and all incidents are more than three years old.
  • Drivers with five years of clean driving experience (formerly SDIP Step 10) will receive an "Excellent Driver Discount" and those with six or more years of clean driving experience (formerly SDIP Step 9) will receive an "Excellent Driver Plus Discount".
  • Bodily injury claims resulting from at-fault accidents will now be included as surchargeable incidents.