Mass. Auto Rates Certain to Go Down in 2006 as Bureau Calls for 5.4% Cut

September 30, 2005

One thing is known: auto insurance rates in Massachusetts will be going down in 2006. How much remains a matter for Insurance Commissioner Julianne Bowler to decide by the end of the year.

Bowler today received her third recommendation, this one calling for a 5.4 percent reduction in rates, from the State Rating Bureau, the consumer arm of the Division of Insurance.

After months of public hearings on all facets of the rates are finished, she will decide among that 5.4 percent rate cut recommendation, a filing for a smaller 0.1 percent reduction submitted by the industry itself, and a gigantic 18 percent rate cut proposal urged by Attorney General Tom Riley.

SRB Director Kevin Beagan said the 5.4 percent figure is a tempered number based upon declining loss trends from 2004 data. “That year’s data showed dramatic deceases in bodily and personal injury claims but we cannot recommend unreasonable adjustments based on just one year’s data, especially since 2004 was a year with an unusually low number of winter storms,” he said.

The SRB will make its recommendation for agents’ commission levels next week. The Massachusetts Association of Insurance Agents has requested an 18.2 percent increase.

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