Allstate Insurance looks to enter Massachusetts
Allstate Insurance Co., the nation's second largest auto insurer, announced plans today to re-enter the Massachusetts auto insurance market starting this fall.
If approved by regulators, Allstate would be the latest in a string of major insurers to enter the Massachusetts market since the state started allowing companies to start setting their own rates starting last year.
Geico, the country's third largest auto insurer, just started offering auto insurance in Massachusetts today. And Progressive, the country's fourth largest auto insurer, entered the market a year ago. A number of smaller companies have also started marketing auto insurance since the state stopped setting auto insurance rates.
According to Massachusetts Insurance Commissioner Nonnie S. Burnes, the new system is intended to give car owners more choice and help lower rates in Massachusetts. Indeed, some consumers say they have been able to save hundreds of dollars or more by switching insurance plans since the state introduced its "managed competition" plans.
But the state hasn't released figures yet showing how much consumers statewide have saved, if anything, under the new system.
Allstate, based in Northbrook, Ill., said it filed proposed rates and other paperwork today with the Massachusetts Division of Insurance. It hopes to start marketing auto insurance in the state under the Allstate brand starting Nov. 2.
The company said Massachusetts consumers will be able to sign up for policies online at www.allstate.com, calling (800) ALLSTATE, or contacting the company's agents in Connecticut, New Hampshire, or Rhode Island.
Allstate already sells insurance in Massachusetts to a limited degree through a subsidiary, Encompass Insurance, but does not currently market the insurance under its own better known brand. A spokesman said Encompass has a tiny market share of the Bay State's auto insurance market. But Allstate hasn't marketed auto insurance policies under its own brand in two decades.
An Allstate spokesman said the company's insurance rates would be "very competitive," but couldn't say more precisely how they would stack up against competitors.
(By Todd Wallack, Globe staff)