Massachusetts lawmakers have unveiled a new state policy that would remove the appeals process that allows Mass. drivers to appeal a rate hike in their insurance coverage after a car accident. The current appeals process takes about seven months and costs drivers $50, so the change in policy is being touted as a faster, cheaper option for drivers.
The new policy, which goes into effect of April 2009, requires drivers who were involved in a traffic accident but were not at fault to file a complaint with their insurance company. The insurance company will determine whether the driver should pay a rate hike for the accident, and the Insurance Commissioner said that drivers can switch insurance companies if they disagree.
Some are concerned that this new policy will give insurance companies too much power. “You’re letting the fox guard the chicken coup,” said the president of the Massachusetts Association of Insurance Agents. “I just don’t see how this is consumer-friendly.”
According to the Boston Herald, Massachusetts is the only state where drivers can contest surcharges before an appellate board if the driver was found at fault.