News Release

New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance

Holly C. Bakke Commissioner

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 18, 2002
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION: BILL HEINE or PETER HARTT (609) 292-5064

DEPARTMENT BRINGING MORE CONSUMER INFORMATION TO WEB;

DETAILED PRICE COMPARISONS, REGULATORY ACTIONS NOW ONLINE

TRENTON - Heeding the call of Gov. James E. McGreevey to make government services more easily available to citizens, the Department of Banking and Insurance today posted new consumer information on its web site, including a detailed price-comparison database for auto insurance rates.

Now, comprehensive information on auto rates is just a few clicks away for anyone with access to the Internet. The new section of the Departmentís web site, located at www.state.nj.us/dobi/filings.htm,

provides not only money-saving tips and general insurance FAQís, but also allows consumers to compare rates in their own towns simply by entering a zip code.

"Consumer information should be readily and easily accessible," Commissioner Holly C. Bakke said. "It is no longer enough for state government to compile data. We must, and now will, provide that data in ways that are effective and easy to use."

In addition to the auto insurance price comparisons, the Department now posts a comprehensive list of regulatory actions taken since the beginning of the year. The list, located at www.state.nj.us/dobi/dobiactivity.htm, includes actions on insurance company licensing, fines and restitution, and recent Community Outreach activities. The section on fines and restitution, for example, lets consumers know that the Department has rung up more than $1.1 million in fines and restitution in less than two months this year. The section on licensing shows that the Department has welcomed eight new insurance companies into the state so far this year.

"This kind of information serves important purposes: it heeds the Governorís call to better inform citizens about what their government is doing, lets companies and the public know that the Department is fulfilling its oversight responsibility by sanctioning violators, and benefits policyholders by recognizing new companies entering the market," Commissioner Bakke said.

Commissioner Bakke said that the Department is working on more ways to improve its level of service to the public, and other announcements will be forthcoming.