For Immediate Release - September 30, 2004

State Rating Bureau Makes Recommendation For 2005 Auto Insurance Rates

The State Rating Bureau ("SRB") today filed with the Division of Insurance its rate recommendation in the ongoing 2005 private passenger auto insurance rate case. Based on the evidence presented by the auto insurers and agents in August, the SRB believes the combined average rate request of 9.2 percent, including statutory increases for insolvency assessments and SDIP reconciliations, is too high and is recommending to Commissioner Julie Bowler a smaller statewide average increase of approximately 1.0 percent.

State Rating Bureau Director Kevin Beagan said that the rate recommended is based upon data from 2003, which dictates a need for a modest increase in order to maintain rate adequacy in the marketplace. "The insurers' and Attorney General's requests are once again far apart. We see our recommendation as more reasonable and adequate based upon the evidence presented."

"While bodily injury and personal injury claims frequency are basically level with those of last year, claims for property damage have increased by 6.3% over the prior year, with a 14% increase in glass claims," Beagan added.

If approved by Commissioner Bowler, the SRB's recommended average rate range would reduce the combined request for $101 per vehicle by approximately $90 per vehicle. By law, Commissioner Bowler must issue a decision in the rate case by December 15, 2004.