Mass. AG Reilly Opposes FAIR Plan’s 12% Rate Hike

September 10, 2006

Massachusetts Attorney General Tom Reilly has decided to appeal Insurance Commissioner Julianne Bowler’s order allowing the state’s insurer of last resort — the FAIR Plan — to raise home insurance premiums an average of 12.4 percent statewide — and 25 percent on Cape Cod.

In his appeal filed with the Supreme Judicial Court filed Friday, Reilly said he was not allowed to cross-examine Massachusetts FAIR Plan executives about a $13 million purchase of reinsurance coverage, and complained that Bowler didn’t hold a public hearing.

Reilly called for a 1.2 percent increase on the Cape and islands and no increase, on average, statewide.

The Massachusetts FAIR Plan was created to provide coverage to homeowners unable to secure insurance in the private market. It currently insures more than 130,000 homeowners statewide, including a third of all homeowners on Cape Cod.

Insurance rates in coastal areas have increased across the country, largely because storm damage projections show a hurricane would cause more severe damage than previously believed. In its rate filing, the FAIR Plan averaged the damage projections of the two leading hurricane modelers. Reilly, a Democratic candidate for governor, said one model should be thrown out and the other tweaked.

“The Division of Insurance has a pattern of accepting the (insurance) industry’s statistics and not holding them to scrutiny and the necessary analysis,” Reilly maintained.

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