Appeals Board may be permanent

The state House of Representatives voted 155-0 on Thursday to approve a bill that would make permanent the board that rules on drivers’ appeals of motor vehicle insurance surcharges.  The Republican reports that this vote would “…enshrine the state Division of Insurance’s Board of Appeal in state law and strip away the power of an insurance commissioner to unilaterally abolish the board.” 

On Anniversary of managed competition savings to consumers still up for debate

April 1 marks the one year anniversary of managed competition for Massachusetts auto insurance, and, as the varied stories show, whether or not the consumer is benefiting is still in question.

According to Insurance Journal: “It’s difficult to measure the exact impact of the new system so far.” 

Customers are saving money  with managed competition according to Travelers Insurance, who states that “…approximately 75 percent of Travelers of Massachusetts’ customers saw savings on their car insurance…”

The Bedford Minuteman reports: “Consumer group representatives claimed Massachusetts drivers would have saved more on auto insurance premiums under the state’s old heavily regulated system…”

Progressive raising their rates in MA – Bait & switch or natural market adjustment??

The Boston Herald reports that Progressive plans to raise their rates in MA starting April 1.   Critics point to this as the bait and switch they were expecting from the Ohio-based insurance company that took 1.2% of the MA auto insurance market in less than a year.  Progressive representatives argue that the rate hike is a natural market adjustment after one year in MA.  What do you think?

Plymouth Rock enhances their MYLES discount program

Plymouth Rock announced new discounts available through their “savings pass” also knows as the MYLES (Make Your Life Easier Services(SM)) program.  In addition to current discounts on auto-related purchases from select retail partners which may total hundreds of dollars for some customers, they have added discounts on Thule car racks and driver training taken at Driven Advanced Drivers Training.  As MSNBC.com reports, Plymouth Rock also is rewarding their customers for driving less.

Appeals Board Retained…for now

Yesterday on Beacon Hill, Commissioner Burnes stated that she will retain the state board allowing drivers to appeal auto insurance surcharges.  As Boston.com reports, supporters of the board process were satisfied with Burnes’ change of position on this matter and believe that it is best for the consumer.  Whether or not the Appeals Board will be around in the long term remains to be seen.

New insurance rules putting agents out of work?

The Boston Globe is reporting on the frustration of agents who specialize in high-risk drivers over the new rules effective April 1 which will, they say, cost them their jobs.  The agents also fear that the new rules will leave many drivers without coverage.  Insurance Commissioner Burnes countered with graphical evidence that there was a distribution of agents across the state who are not being picked up by insurance companies.

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