Blue Cross Claim That 39% Premium Hikes Due Only to ‘Escalating Cost of Health Care’ Trigger Calls for Regulation of Rates

By JAY FITZGERALD

Attorney General Martha Coakley is faulting five auto insurance companies for inaccurately charging customers for “at-fault” accidents they didn’t commit.

Coakley announced yesterday that the five auto insurers will have to cough up money for customers who she says were unfairly charged higher rates due to inaccurate driving-record data.

The insurers failed to correct a private driving-record database whenever a motorist won an appeal of any “at-fault” accident determination, said the attorney general.

The result was that some consumers paid higher premium rates than they should have, Coakley’s office said.

The five insurers – Metropolitan Property & Casualty, Liberty Mutual Insurance Co., Peerless Insurance Co., Plymouth Rock Assurance Corp. and Pilgrim Insurance Co. – agreed in settlements to pay the state a combined $100,000.

They also agreed to reimburse customers for an unspecified amount of money that they may have been charged, Coakley’s office said.

Coakley reached a similar agreement earlier this month with Commerce Insurance.

Frank O’Brien, vice president of the Property Casualty Insurance Association of America, said the improper charges were the result of an honest error.

“Insurance companies can make mistakes,” he said. “They were doing something they shouldn’t have done.”

Originally published by By JAY FITZGERALD.

(c) 2010 Boston Herald. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All rights Reserved.