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Acting Superintendent of Insurance Howard Mills today announced that the New York State Insurance Department has approved a State Farm Mutual rate filing that will reduce the auto premiums paid by their policyholders by a statewide average of 5 percent.  The savings are estimated at $47 million for 2005 alone. In addition, State Farm Fire & Casualty is cutting auto rates by an average of 4 percent, producing additional savings of about $6 million.

“The Insurance Department has now authorized rate reductions that will keep a quarter-billion dollars in the pockets of New York’s drivers that would otherwise have gone toward auto insurance premium payments,” Acting Superintendent Mills stated. “Governor Pataki’s commitment to fighting fraud and streamlining the insurance regulatory system are directly responsible for these extraordinary consumer savings and we’re committed to building on these successes.”

State Farm Mutual, which also cut rates twice in 2004, insures 1.1 million private passenger vehicles in New York State, representing an 11.3 percent market share. State Farm, Allstate and GEICO insure the largest number of New York drivers.  GEICO is already implementing a 6 percent rate reduction for this year.

The reduced rates for State Farm auto policyholders are effective on April 1, 2005 for new business and May 1, 2005 for renewals.

State Farm is the seventh insurer to seek and win Department approval for auto rate reductions. The others are GEICO, Progressive, Nationwide, MetLife, Amica Mutual, and Travelers. The combined savings from all of these approved rate filings are now estimated at more than $250 million.

The origins of these rate reductions date back to November 2004 when the New York State Insurance Department asked the state’s largest auto insurance carriers to meet with the Department’s senior management team to discuss possible rate reductions in light of industry data indicating that losses had dropped substantially between 2002 and the third quarter of 2004. Meetings with other carriers are continuing.


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