Is The MAIP An Insurance Company?
No, the MAIP is the way you are assigned to one of the existing automobile insurers if you have been unable to find coverage on your own.
Every company licensed to sell private passenger automobile insurance in Massachusetts must also participate in the MAIP by acting as an Assigned Risk Company (ARC). Consumers who cannot obtain insurance in the voluntary market are assigned to an ARC by the MAIP. For the most part, these ARCs are the same companies that you will see selling insurance in the voluntary market. The only difference is each company has some drivers they insure voluntarily and other drivers that are assigned to them through the MAIP.
The MAIP is administered by Commonwealth Automobile Reinsurers (CAR) according to rules that are approved by the Division of Insurance. The coverage and service provided to you by the ARC will be comparable to coverage provided to drivers in the voluntary market. The ARC must charge the consumer the lower of the MAIP premium rate or the ARC's voluntary premium rate.
How Do I Get Assigned To An Insurer Through The MAIP?
You must first try to find coverage on your own in the voluntary market - either through an agent or directly from a company. If no company is willing to write coverage for you, any insurance agent can submit an application for insurance to the MAIP.
Any time a company denies your application for automobile insurance in the voluntary market, it must inform you in writing. This letter must include the reasons for their denial. Different companies might deny your application for different reasons, so these letters might list different reasons from company to company.
The MAIP will then assign the application to one of the Assigned Risk Companies (ARC) and insurance will be provided to you by that company. You can qualify for group and other discounts offered by the Assigned Risk Company; however, you may have to fill out an additional application in order to determine your eligibility for those discounts. Companies are allowed to sell you any coverage that they offer to customers through the voluntary market, but are not required to do so. These additional coverages are subject to the company's existing underwriting rules. If you are assigned to an insurer through the MAIP, you will be offered an installment plan unless you have previously had a policy cancelled for non-payment, or if you have made a payment with a bounced check.
Every agent licensed to sell automobile insurance in Massachusetts must also be an Assigned Risk Producer. This means that any agent can help you complete an application to the MAIP. If an agent submits a MAIP application for you, that agent will continue to service your policy regardless of which Assigned Risk Company receives your policy. If you like your current agent, no one will force you to switch. You are also free to keep your other insurance policies - such as a homeowner's insurance policy - with your present insurer.
Assignments are made on the basis of each company's market share. You will not be able to choose your company. Certain circumstances, however, will result in an assignment being directed to a particular Assigned Risk Company. Examples of directed assignment include a household member with her own policy, or outstanding premium owed to a company. You should not see any change in the quality of service however. The service provided to you by the Assigned Risk Company must be the same as those provided to drivers in the voluntary market.
An Assigned Risk Company can refuse to offer insurance to any applicant, or to renew an existing policy, if you do not have a valid driver's license or if your license is suspended or revoked. In that event, you should work with the Registry of Motor Vehicles to obtain your license or have your license reinstated.
If you have failed to pay your automobile insurance premium at any time in the last 12 months, your ARC may require you to pay your premium in full before issuing a policy.
How Will I Know If I Have Been Assigned To An Insurer Through The MAIP?
Your agent will tell you when you have been assigned to a company through the MAIP. In some cases, your agent may fill out a MAIP application before you receive official notification that you have been denied coverage in the voluntary market. You will always receive written notice any time you are denied coverage.
Can I Dispute My Assignment To A Particular Company Through The MAIP?
You may only dispute an assignment to a particular company through the MAIP in one of the following circumstances:
- If you are currently or have previously been involved in a lawsuit with the company to which you are assigned
- If you have filed a Consumer Complaint with the Division of Insurance or the Attorney General's office against the company to which you are assigned before your MAIP assignment
- If you have invoked your rights under a consumer protection statute against the company to which you are assigned before your MAIP assignment. For example, you previously issued a Chapter 93A Demand Letter to the company
If you have been assigned to a company that falls into one or more of the categories described above, you may request reassignment to a different company by completing a Request for Reassignment Form. You must complete and submit this form within 30 days of either (1) your initial assignment to the MAIP, or (2) your annual policy renewal date. You will be able to obtain copies of this form from your agent or online. You will be required to provide supporting documentation that you are entitled to be reassigned to a different company when you submit your request.
What If I Am Assigned Through The MAIP Because Of Inaccurate Information?
Whenever you apply for automobile insurance, you should make sure that all of the information on your application is true, accurate and complete. In the event that a company denies your application because of an inaccuracy, you are always free to re-apply with the corrected information. You should be aware that correcting inaccurate information will not guarantee that a company will agree to insure you voluntarily.
How Do I Get Out Of My MAIP Assignment?
Maintaining a clean driving record is the best way to convince companies to offer you coverage. Since drivers are allowed to change insurers at any time, you are free to shop around for coverage in the voluntary market throughout the year. Whenever you find a company willing to write you voluntarily, you are free to switch.
You should remember that changing insurers in the middle of a policy period will probably result in a penalty called a "short rate value." The purpose of this penalty is to allow the company to recoup the costs of writing, administering and canceling your policy. The amount of the short rate value decreases as your policy renewal date gets closer. You should contact your agent or company to find out how much of a penalty you would have to pay before you cancel your existing policy.
Who Can I Call To Complain About The MAIP Or The Process Of Being Assigned Through The MAIP?
You should always contact your agent or company with questions about your insurance coverage or placement. You can also contact the Division of Insurance's Consumer Services Unit.