Little-known fact, Part II: In order to raise rates, many insurers in Washington state must get approval from the state insurance commissioner's office. The agency's staffers look at the requested rate and the calculations behind it.
In the end, the rate our office approves is often lower than what the companies originally requested. The reduction is usually a small percentage -- over the last 10 years, the reductions in personal auto insurance requests have ranged from 1/10 of a percent to 2.8 percent -- but the amount shaved from premiums is considerable.
From 2000 through Oct. 31, 2009, these rate reviews and reductions shaved nearly $243 million from proposed car-insurance rates.
In the first 10 months of this year, for example, such rate reviews trimmed $26.1 million from proposed rates, a reduction of about 1 percent. In 2008, it was $44.4 million, or 1.7 percent.