New York State
Insurance Department


ISSUED 12/22/2004

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

METLIFE AGREES TO AUTO INSURANCE RATE REDUCTIONS

        Superintendent of Insurance Gregory V. Serio today announced that New York State drivers who are insured through MetLife Auto & Home will see a rate reduction in 2005 that results in an overall savings of nearly 6 percent for their policyholders. MetLife’s decision will save their existing private passenger vehicle policyholders more than $15 million.

        "MetLife Auto & Home is returning to their customers what the Insurance Department sees as a fraud-fighting dividend," Superintendent Serio stated. "The Pataki administration and district attorneys statewide have been successfully fighting no-fault auto insurance fraud and these savings are now going back to consumers."

        The new MetLife rate structure will go into effect on Feb. 1, 2005 for most first-time customers and starting on April 1, 2005 for those that renew existing policies. The precise average decrease for the entire MetLife Group is 5.7 percent but about one-third of their customers will realize an average rate cut as high as 9 percent.

        MetLife insures about 275,000 private passenger vehicles in New York State, which translates into almost 3 percent of the state’s total market share as of December 2004.

        In an unprecedented move, Superintendent Serio last month asked MetLife and 12 other auto insurance carriers cumulatively serving more than 60 percent of the state’s drivers to meet with him to discuss possible rate reductions in light of compelling industry data indicating that losses had dropped substantially between 2002 and the third quarter of 2004. MetLife’s announcement marks the second time in two weeks that an auto carrier has indicated it will reduce rates next year in New York State. GEICO agreed last week to reduce their auto rates 6 percent for a typical policyholder in 2005. State Farm and Progressive cut auto insurance rates earlier this year. Meetings with other carriers are continuing.

        "New York State’s auto insurers are acknowledging with these agreements that downward rate adjustments are warranted," Superintendent Serio said. "The Insurance Department and law enforcement agencies statewide are committed to continuing the fight on fraud and driving rates down even further in the year ahead." The MetLife reductions are pending Insurance Department approval of their rate filings, which is expected within the next few weeks.

        The MetLife filing calls for an average 9 percent cut for drivers that are covered by the company’s Metropolitan Group Property & Casualty Insurance Company (84,000 vehicles) and Economy Premier Assurance Company (EPAC)—PAK II (15,000 vehicles), though some drivers insured by those two companies could see reductions of as much as 15 percent. The 153,000 vehicles insured through either the Metropolitan Casualty Insurance Company or the Metropolitan Property & Casualty Insurance Company will realize average savings of 4.5 percent, with rate changes ranging from -2 percent to -7 percent.


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