The State Attorney General’s office released a report this last December contending the deregulated auto insurance market has not decreases rates for consumers. Prior to deregulation Massachusetts insurance rates were set by state regulators and based on driving records and location the car is registered. Because of this there was little variation in quotes from one company to the next. Prior to deregulation insurance carriers were also required to write a policy for just about any driver which, no pun intended, drove many insurance carriers away from offering coverage in Massachusetts.
The new managed market allows insurance carriers to set their own rates, include more factors in the rating process, and reject more applicants. This means younger drivers, senior citizens, and those who do not own a home may will most likely have more expensive policies than a middle aged homeowner with an identical driving record. The managed market has brought a many insurance carriers to offer coverage in Massachusetts and create more competition.
Attorney General Martha Coakley expressed she was concerned drivers are not getting the best rates and protection. Coakley has proposed multiple improvements to the current system including the creation of a website for side-by-side comparisons of quotes for all carriers.
Frank Mancini, president of the Massachusetts Association of Insurance Agents disagrees with Coakley. Mancini stated:
The jury’s still out. Rates are probably going to go up because the business is cyclical, and that would have happened under the system we had.
– “AG Urges Changes in Auto Insurance” from The Boston Globe
Although Manchini agrees that the insurance division’s website has been less than efficient, he noted many drivers who receive lower rates utilized an insurance agent. Using an agent who writes insurance for more than one carrier is the best way to go about comparing auto insurance premiums. Someone who writes for more than one carrier will know the varying discounts each carrier offers and compare identical coverages for you. A great resource for this type of agent can be found through MassDrive.
The only way to truly make deregulation work for you is comparing quotes from different insurance carriers. Utilize the resources available and save yourself some stress, time and money.