Rate reviews by the Washington state insurance commissioner’s office have shaved more than $300 million from Washingtonians’ auto and homeowners insurance bills over the past decade.
“Few people know about this process, but it’s a crucial part of our consumer-protection role,” said Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler. “By carefully vetting requested rate increases, we save people substantial money on their premiums.”
In order to change rates, some insurers in Washington must get approval from the state insurance commissioner’s office. The companies produce data and calculations showing their justification for the requested rate. The state’s actuaries then review the request.
Each request is viewed on a case-by-case basis. Some are approved as requested. But many of the approved rates end up lower than what the companies originally requested. The changes can save policyholders millions of dollars a year.
For example, from 2000 through Nov. 30, 2009, rate reviews by the Office of the Insurance Commissioner trimmed more than $55 million from proposed homeowners’ insurance rates.
For personal auto insurance, rate reviews saved consumers nearly $246 million. Here’s a breakdown, by year:
Year Change by OIC Savings to consumers
2000 -.1 percent $1.9 million
2001 -1.1 percent $22 million
2002 -.8 percent $16.9 million
2003 -2.8 percent $60.7 million
2004 -1.4 percent $32.2 million
2005 -.3 percent $7.5 million
2006 -.5 percent $12.8 million
2007 -.7 percent $18.2 million
2008 -1.7 percent $44.5 million
2009 -1.1 percent $28.8 million