Auto insurers seek decreases amid reforms

BOSTON – Auto insurers doing business in Massachusetts filed for rate decreases of up to 35 percent as a result of proposed reforms to the state’s auto insurance system.While the reforms are not scheduled to take affect until April 1, 2008, many insurers over the past week filed the rates they will use under the new rules,giving a clear indication of the consumer benefits of Insurance Commissioner Nonnie Burnes’system of managed competition.For more than three decades, Massachusetts insurers have operated under a system where the state set the price of policies and dictated the type of coverage that insurers had to provide. This system led to dozens of insurers leaving the state – only 19 insurers wrote auto insurance policies before the regulatory reforms were announced earlier this year – resulting in less competition and higher prices for consumers. The modest regulatory reforms proposed by Burnes and supported by Gov. Deval Patrick will, for the first time in 30 years, allow companies the flexibility to offer competitive rates and products.However, despite the consumer benefits provided by the new rules,legislative efforts to thwart implementation of the reforms is beingconsidered in the state Senate. The Property Casualty Insurers Association of America will join forces with responsible public policymakers and thousands of consumers throughout the state who will pay less for their coverage under the new system who were frustrated with the system to oppose such legislation.

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