Old Arguments, New Prospects
When it seems everything has been said or written about auto insurance reform that could ever be, it's apparently time to start rewriting.
Bay State media outlets have rehashed every argument made for and against auto insurance reform in the last several weeks, all in expectation of a decision to be released by this week or next by the Massachusetts Division of Insurance. Public opinion seems to be – and Commissioner of Insurance Nonnie S. Burnes tacitly prompted the belief during recent hearings – that some form of competition is on the horizon for private passenger auto insurance. And, as some lawmakers and industry observers have hoped, these arguments have focused only on the cost of insurance for urban and inexperienced drivers. These are entirely valid concerns – any changes to the system should minimize the impact on such motorists, while maximizing potential benefits to all consumers.
Everyone in the insurance industry, however, knows that no conclusions can accurately be drawn from widespread speculation. So, given that the Division's decision will come out after this week's deadline for The Standard, it might be an interesting exercise to consider the ideal outcome until then. Agents, for example – what type of options would you like to be able to offer your clients and how could competition provide those opportunities? Competition does not only mean the lowest price out there – it means new products from existing players, it means companies that might have only offered homeowners products to Bay Staters getting into the auto insurance market and coming up with appealing package deals. It promises innovation such as accident forgiveness for those people who really are good drivers and have a fluke fender-bender. It means better service from insurers that choose to distinguish themselves in that respect. In short, more competition could end up making trusted independent agents more valuable to their clients.