By JONATHAN D. EPSTEIN
News Business Reporter
The Buffalo News
The state’s largest auto insurer, Allstate Corp., has agreed to cut rates in New York state this year by at least 3 percent, saving customers $50 million, state regulators will announce today. With the agreement, Northbrook, Ill.-based Allstate becomes the ninth insurer to agree to a rate cut since state regulators began a campaign to lower auto insurance premiums in New York in November.
Last month, New York Central Mutual agreed to cut rates by a statewide average of 5.1 percent, to save consumers an estimated $15 million for 2005.
The state also achieved rate cuts from Amica Mutual Insurance Co., GEICO Corp., MetLife, Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co., Progressive Corp., State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co., and St. Paul Travelers Companies.
In all, regulators claim, consumers will save more than $300 million from the rate cuts.
“This extraordinarily positive trend is the direct result of Governor Pataki’s successful efforts to crack down on insurance fraud and streamline the way in which claims are processed,” Acting Insurance Superintendent Howard Mills said in a statement about Allstate.
Insurance Department spokesman Mike Barry said regulators are negotiating with another major insurer, Liberty Mutual Group, and expect to have an agreement on rate cuts from the Boston-based company shortly.
“There are other insurers indicating they may also cut their prices in order to stay competitive,” Mills said in the statement announcing the New York Central agreement on April 19.