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Insurer Cautions Mass. Drivers about Consumer Web Sites

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Less than a week before historic auto insurance reform takes effect in Massachusetts, one of the insurers is urging Bay State auto insurance policyholders to use caution when using consumer web sites, saying many sites provide insufficient information to motorists seeking to make informed buying decisions.

“Many of the sites derive price quotes from an extremely limited amount of information and do not include most of the rating variables and other characteristics insurers use to rate policies and determine prices,” said Susan K. Scott, senior vice president and general counsel of Travelers of Massachusetts.

Scott’s comments come as the state overhauls the auto insurance system. For the first time in three decades, drivers can choose from auto insurers who now have the ability to set their own rates and offer new products, credits and discounts.

Scott, former acting commissioner of the state Division of Insurance from 1990 to 1991, said a consumer web site may use five or six variables to rate samples when, in fact, many more variables will be in play when determining insurance costs.

“For this reason,” said Scott, “the actual rate a consumer will pay could vary by several hundreds of dollars from sample rates found on the Internet. Some sample rates that look attractive could be much higher for most drivers and others that appear high are much lower in reality.”

Rather than solely relying on web sites, Scott recommends consumers work with independent agents.

Source: Travelers of Massachusetts www.travelersma.com


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