Walsh, Forry push for delay of auto insurance rules

State lawmakers in the Dorchester delegation are calling for the state insurance commissioner to delay rules that they say will put insurance agents who serve urban areas out of business. Lawmakers, including state Reps. Marty Walsh and Linda Dorcena Forry, met for about two hours last Wednesday with Insurance Commissioner Nonnie Burnes and over 150 insurance agents, who argued that they'll be cut out of business because of the state implementing auto insurance reform.

Before reform was implemented, the agents were able to write special policies for urban drivers, who were usually in the state's high-risk pool. But because of the reform that introduced "managed competition" among auto insurance companies, they have not been given contracts by the companies, according to lawmakers.

"It's not fair they might potentially be put out of business," Walsh said. "It's discrimination is what it is." Walsh and Forry said they are pressing for a six-month delay. Separately, state Attorney General Martha Coakley called for Burnes to re-instate the Board of Appeals that existed before auto insurance reform. The board heard consumer concerns over surcharges from auto insurances.

"Given the incentives insurance companies have to uphold their own decisions, it is important for Massachusetts consumers to have an independent, third party review of insurers 'at fault' determinations," Coakley said in a statement. "Removing an independent third party review of surcharges is an anti-consumer policy that is not required by law and has no corresponding benefit to competition, policyholders or the public. Our office will work with DOI and the Legislature to reinstate an independent, third party review process for consumers."