Massachusetts Legislation


Lawmakers working to preserve Massachusetts Auto Appeals Board

WBZ is covering updates on bills introduced on Beacon Hill to save the Massachusetts Auto Appeals Board. A new hook? The existence of the board generates about $2.5M in revenue for the commonwealth of Massachusetts in fees:

Proponents of the current appeals process say it saves drivers about $25 million a year because 45 percent to 50 percent of them win their appeals; and the $50 fee they pay gives the state $2.5 million a year in revenue.

WBZ also has some video on this subject. To view it, click here.

MassDrive.org has covered the elimination of the Massachusetts Auto Appeals Board in past posts.

Is closing the auto appeals board right for Massachusetts?

On its editorial pages,the Worcester Telegram & Gazette tackles the question of whether or not the auto appeals board is truly obsolete due to the introduction of managed competition in Massachusetts:

The system could be cumbersome, to be sure. However, it remains to be seen whether its replacement — an at-fault review process conducted by the insurer — will be more expeditious or consumer friendly.

One notable point is also stated by the Telegram & Gazette:

Ms. Burnes promises to monitor the change and “issue further guidance” as needed. If the company-driven reviews fail to meet expectations, a prompt return to the appeals system should be among the options in play.

It’s good to know that Insurance Commissioner Nonnie S. Burnes is open to reverting back to the old system and reestablish the appeals board, should this new approach fail. At MassDriver.org, we covered the end of the Massachusetts auto appeals board previously. Be sure to check back here for further updates!

Massachusetts Auto Insurance Appeals Board To Be Shuttered

NECN delivers a very important story for Massachusetts auto insurance consumers – if your insurance company raises your rates because of an accident and you think it’s unfair, you won’t be able to appeal it to the commonwealth beginning on April 1. Check out NECN’s reporting:

Here is a key point explained by NECN:

If you feel unfairly surcharged by your insurer, you can dump them and get a new insurer.

A look at "competition" in Massachusetts before 2008

A good article from the Motley fool on the financial standing of the state’s second largest insurer, Safety Insurance Group, and how insurance companies operated in Massachusetts before the state opened up its doors to auto insurance companies and competition.  As a consumer, it’s a noteworthy process to be aware of the old system and how it dictated the purchase of auto insurance in Massachusetts.

A glance back at the Massachusetts auto deregulation debate

This is a worthwhile article from the Providence Journal published in 2007 that goes through some of the common objections to the deregulation of Massachusetts Auto Insurance.   For some politicians like Joan Menard, D-Somerset,  the primary issue that caused most concern is how competing auto insurance companies in Massachusetts would set rates and what data is at their disposal in making those rates.  This particularly articles gives a good early-stage view at how prevailing opinion has developed over time within Massachusetts car insurance circles.

Newcomers versus legacy carriers in Massachusetts auto insurance marketplace

Competition has certainly changed the playing field in the world of Massachusetts Auto Insurance.  Although insurance agents continue to provide value to consumers, the increased competition is not desirable for Massachusetts insurance agents because it will change the playing field dramatically for Massachusetts Auto Insurance.  One situation with a group of Massachusetts Auto Insurance agents and Massachusetts Insurance Commissioner Nonnie S. Burnes, alleges preferential treatment for newcomers to the Massachusetts Auto Insurance marketplace.

Coakley alleges unfair rate increases for Massachusetts auto insurance customers

At the end of 2008, Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley asked the Massachusetts state Division of Insurance to look at one insurance company, Premier (a subsidiary of Traveler’s Insurance), for alleged discrimination related to home ownsership.  Coakley’s office alleges that Premier’s new rating system unfairly increases rates for Massachusetts Auto Insurance consumers who do not own homes. As readers of this blog already know, Massachusetts insurance regulations prevent auto insurance companies from basing rates on income, homeownership, among other factors that could be construed as indicators for income.

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