Area Legislators Call for Automobile Insurance Cost Reductions as Drivers Stay Off the Roads

Summer at Main Street in Haverhill. (WHAV News file photograph.)

Five senators and seven House lawmakers, led by Sen. Barry Finegold, want another reduction in automobile insurance rates in light of reduced travel and accidents as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Besides Finegold, area legislators signing the letter to Insurance Commissioner Gary Anderson were Sen. Diana DiZoglio of Methuen and Rep. Christina Minicucci of North Andover. The unadjusted rates, they said, disproportionately impact lower-income communities that have been hit hard by COVID-19 and typically pay higher insurance premiums.

Finegold, an Andover Democrat, said, “Drivers are effectively being punished for heeding public health guidelines and staying off the roads.”

Insurance companies covering 98% of the market offered drivers premium reductions in the spring as a result of people quarantining at home to avoid the virus and not driving as much. But the lawmakers said that relief was not commensurate with the reduction in risk to insurers, who they said continue to benefit from people working from home and observing COVID-19 precautions.

The letter was also signed by Sens. Brendan Crighton, Sal DiDomenico and Harriette Chandler, and Reps. Marcos Devers, Frank Moran, Steven Ultrino, Carol Doherty, Carole Fiola, and Antonio Cabral. All 12 lawmakers are members of the Gateway Cities Legislative Caucus.

The legislators said that there have been at least 140,000 crashes every year from 2016 to 2019, but at the start of this month there had been just over 84,000 crashes this year. “The insurance industry contends that it has fixed administrative costs and that the number of severe accidents with larger claim payouts has not declined by as much as the overall number of accidents,” the lawmakers wrote, “While that may be true, the fact remains that insurance companies have hauled in record windfall profits, even after giving out refunds in the spring.”

Comments are closed.