New York increases rates for high risk drivers

National Association of Independent Insurers                                                              August 8/2003

ALBANY, N. Y. — The New York State Insurance Department has taken an important step toward the stabilization of automobile insurance rates by approving a statewide average rate increase of 19.7 percent for high-risk drivers insured through the state’s Automobile Insurance Plan. The increase takes effect for new business August 15 and for renewals October 1, 2003. “This rate increase for drivers in the assigned risk pool is necessary to help address skyrocketing insurance costs,” said Gerald Zimmerman, assistant general counsel for the National Association of Independent Insurers (NAII). “Unless meaningful reforms are adopted that reduce insurance costs, consumers will continue to see rates increase. In the latest report on state average auto premiums by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), New York displaced New Jersey as the second most expensive insurance marketplace in the country. This trend is symptomatic of a system that is in need of cost controls.”

NAII and others in the industry are calling for a series of reforms that will squarely address the major cost drivers in the system. ”Insurance fraud continues to be the biggest cost driver in New York. While coordinated action between state officials, law enforcement and insurers is helpful in fighting fraud, legislative action is necessary to impose stricter penalties for this crime. Other legislative changes that would help reduce costs include giving insurers more time to investigate and deny fraudulent claims and decertifying health care providers that engage in fraud. In addition to reducing insurance fraud, insurers are advocating reforms that will reduce costs such as mandatory arbitration for billing disputes, medical protocols and the implementation of a more competition-based regulatory system,” Zimmerman said. “What New Yorkers don’t need is more bureaucracy, like a so-called consumer advocate, whose sole purpose is to politicize the pricing of insurance.”

NAII, based in suburban Chicago, is a leading property/casualty insurance company trade association. Its more than 725 member companies write $112 billion in annual premium, representing 31.2 percent of the nation’s property/casualty insurance.

Contact: Jeffrey Brewer Telephone: 847-297-7800, ext. 651

E-Mail: Jeffrey.brewer@naii.org

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