News Release

New Jersey Department of
Banking and Insurance
Acting Commissioner Donald Bryan

For Immediate Release: May 18, 2005

For Further Information:: Jaimee Gilmartin - (609) 292-5064

More Savings for New Jersey Drivers
Total Returns on Auto Insurance Nears $334 million

TRENTON – New Jersey Banking and Insurance Acting Commissioner Donald Bryan today announced that during the last two years 64 percent of auto insurance policyholders have received rate reductions or special dividends. Since the auto insurance reforms of 2003, 17 insurers have returned nearly $334 million to the drivers of more than 2.2 million vehicles.

“This is yet another important milepost for New Jersey drivers,” said Acting Governor Richard J. Codey. “The majority of the total auto insurance market has returned hundreds of millions of dollars in savings to Garden State drivers. More money in the pockets of our state’s hard working citizens is proof that auto insurance reforms are paving the way for a healthy, competitive market.”

Since the reforms, 29 rate decreases or special dividends by 17 auto insurers have brought more than $333.9 million in savings to policyholders. So far this year, 10 auto insurance companies have made 11 rate reduction filings to save policyholders more than $33 million.

Recently, the following auto insurers filed and received approval for rate reductions on nearly 350,000 vehicles:

“This year isn’t over yet by a long shot,” said Acting Commissioner Bryan. “More good news and more savings for Garden State drivers are just down the road. In the days ahead, the state is committed to driving reform even further down the road to competition and choice for all consumers.”

Among the mile markers New Jersey drivers can expect to reach this year is the fourth new auto insurer entering the state since reforms began. Progressive, the third-largest auto insurance group in the nation, has announced plans to begin writing auto policies in New Jersey this year.

“More competition helps maintain the downward pressure on auto insurance rates,” Acting Commissioner Bryan said. “Mercury General, GEICO and Esurance’s entrance is further proof that drivers in New Jersey are well on their way toward having the same choices available to them as auto insurance consumers throughout the nation.”

Today’s announcement is further evidence of the increasingly competitive auto insurance market in New Jersey. Three new insurers: GEICO, Esurance and Mercury Insurance have entered the market, while AIG and State Farm Indemnity reversed plans to leave the state. The continued wealth of auto insurance opportunities is reflected in the expanded operations of New Jersey Manufacturers Insurance Company, the opening of a GEICO claims center in Marlton and the appointment of more than 1,500 new auto insurance agents statewide.