Massachusetts drivers pay a premium for automobile insurance. Boston personal injury attorneys focus on victims of collisions. We need to also aid our clients, who are consumers in the purchasing of insurance, from the perspective of a Massachusetts injury lawyer. According to the most recent statistics, from the Massachusetts Office of Consumer Affairs & Business Regulation (OCA) the insurance company with the most complaints was Commerce, located in Webster, Massachusetts. Of course, Commerce also has the largest share of “premiums” in Massachusetts.
Thus, a more relevant statistic might be the number of complaints per $10,000 in premiums paid. Commerce had 1.47 complaints per $10,000.00 in premiums paid. The highest number of complaints per premium dollar was Pilgrim Insurance Company, with 4.49 complaints per $10,000 in premiums paid. The statistics are for 2008, the most recent year they are published by OCA.
The following is a list from the Massachusetts OCA:
Insurance Company premium share in 2008 complaints per $10k premiums
Commerce 31.00% 1.47
Safety Group 11.05% 1.65
Arbella Insurance Group 9.25% 1.02
Liberty Mutual Group 8.37% 1.53
Metropolitan Group 6.53% 2.10
Travelers Group 6.28% 2.14
Plymouth Rock Insurance 5.88% 1.37
Hanover Insurance Group 3.84% 1.96
Amica Mutual Group 3.62% 1.56
White Mountain Group 2.49% 1.71
US Automobile Ass. 2.21% 0.63
Allstate 2.11% 1.53
Quincy Mutual Group 1.67% 0.97
Main Street American 1.26% 0.86
Progressive Group 1.24% 4.12
Norfolk & Dedham Group 1.12% 1.44
Allianze Insurance 0.48% 3.91
Pilgrim Insurance 0.48% 4.49
State Farm Group 0.42% 0.64
Electric Insurance Group 0.40% 2.69
13 other groups 0.39% 7.67
From the OCA statistics we can deduce some clear patterns. The 13 “other” groups, which are only .39% of the market, have a very high complaint rate. Wherefore they are not likely to gain a bigger share of the market! Progressive Group, which includes Progressive Direct Insurance Company, seems to have a very high rate of complaints. Pilgrim Insurance, a company we work with frequently, has a similarly high rate of complaints.
The three companies with the lowest rates are United Services Automobile Association Group, which includes the United Services Automobile Association and the USAA Casualty Insurance Company; State Farm Group, which includes State Farm General Insurance Company and State farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company; and, Quincy Mutual Group, which includes Quincy Mutual Fire Insurance Company. Why? There does not seem to be any clear pattern. However, the companies with the smaller share of the market seem to have a better track record; after all, the 10 companies with the largest market share (Commerce, Safety, Arbella, Liberty, Metropolitan, Travelers, Plymouth Rock, Hanover, Amica and White Mountain) all have high rate of complaints. Those companies, however, represent a mere 4.3% of the motor vehicle insurance market.
There are several things that concern us. First, the complaint rate is too high. What is the Massachusetts Office of Consumer Affairs & Business Regulation doing about it? They are supposed to protect consumers. Second, Commerce commands a huge share of the market. What are the other companies going to do about that? Commerce, founded in 1971 and bought in 2008 for over $2 billion by Mapfre, the largest insurer in Spain and a leading insurance company in Latin America. What are their plans with the 31% premium share?