10 - Board of Appeal

10.1 Mission

The mission of the Board of Appeal is to conduct hearings for consumers appealing:

  • The assessment of a surcharge for an at-fault accident
  • A decision of the Registry of Motor Vehicles regarding a license suspension, revocation or denial
  • An insurance cancellation issued to a consumer by their insurance company

10.2 2008 Goals

Reduce backlog of pending appeals. A waiting period of no more than 6 months is considered an acceptable length of time between surcharge and hearing date.Ongoing

10.3 Primary Activities

Hearings on At-fault Accident Determinations

Each automobile insurance carrier administers a unique system of adjusting premiums based on an operator's driving record. Typically, these merit rating plans decrease premiums for years of incident-free driving, and increase premiums for operators with at-fault accidents or traffic citations. These premium adjustments create a financial incentive that encourages safer driving.

A driver who feels he is not at fault for an accident may elect to have a hearing in order to contest the fault determination by his insurance carrier. These hearings only look at whether a driver is more than 50% at fault for the accident and deserves the financial penalty. This process ensures that each company's merit rating plan is being run fairly and equitably.

At the hearing, the appellant has the right to present relevant facts and circumstances by oral testimony or documentary evidence, as well present witnesses question any testimony. The appellant may elect not to appear at a hearing and submit a statement along with any relevant documents to the Board for an administrative review.

If the Board finds that the insurer's determination of fault was not in accordance with the Standards of Fault promulgated by the Commissioner, the determination is overturned. The driver's record will then be changed to reflect this finding. If the Board finds that the insurer's application of a surcharge was in accordance with the Standards of Fault, the determination is upheld.

Registry of Motor Vehicle Action Appeal Hearings

The Board has jurisdiction to hear appeals from any decision or ruling of the Registrar of Motor Vehicles. Board members review testimony, documentation and laws applicable to the appeal and make a decision in the dispute.

If the decision allows a licensing privilege to be reinstated partially or fully, the appellant must take the decision to the Registry of Motor Vehicles to complete the required administrative procedures to become reinstated. A favorable decision is not a license - it allows the appellant to go the Registry to become reinstated.

The Board of Appeal does not review license suspensions arising from a chemical test refusal or statutory revocations pursuant to a court order.

Automobile Insurance Cancellation Appeal Hearings

The Board also hears complaints arising from automobile insurance cancellations. The complaint must be filed before the cancellation date. If it is, the policy remains in effect until the Board has issued its decision. If an appeal is filed after the cancellation date, but within 10 days of cancellation, the appeal is heard, but the cancellation will still take effect.

A complaint may not be filed:

  • If a policy has been secured from another insurance company
  • For non-payment of premium on a registered taxicab or fleet of taxicabs
  • On a cancellation of a policy effected by a finance company
    If a company refuses to issue a policy