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2017-2018 Rate Changes Averaging 15.6% for Sentinel Insurance Company and Trumball Insurance Company in New Mexico

Sentinel Insurance Company and Trumball Insurance Company, both subsidiaries of The Hartford Casualty Insurance Company, submitted requests to the New Mexico Bureau of Insurance in August 2017 to increase the premiums for their auto insurance customers in the state by an average of 15.5% and 15.7% respectively.

The filing is still pending but, if approved, the proposed changes would be effective for policies written for new policyholders on or after September 23rd, 2017, and current policyholders on November 12, 2017.

Trumball Insurance Company proposed rate impact

A decision by the state regulators on the proposed changes is pending. However, If the rate changes are approved, premiums are estimated to increase for 1,454 Trumball policyholders in New Mexico by an average of $268 per policy. As with most increases, though, different customers will be affected differently. Some will see increases lower than that average figure, while others will receive larger hikes. In percentage terms, the company reports the proposed rate increases will range from no increase at all--in other words, 0%--to a substantial 37.9%.

Sentinel Insurance Company proposed rate impact

Sentinel’s rate changes, which are also pending, would affect 1,304 policyholders in New Mexico, with an average increase in premiums of $199 per policy. As with Trumball, there will be an uneven spread of increases for policyholders. The company reports the proposed rate increases will range from 0%--in other words, no change-- to 35.8%.

Market share of auto insurance companies within the state

Together, the two subsidiaries for Hartford Casualty Insurance Company command around 0.4% of the market share in New Mexico--making the two small players indeed in the state insurance market. Indeed, as of 2016, Hartford Insurance Company ranked 17th among auto insurance carriers who are active in the state. While the New Mexico auto insurance market is not heavily concentrated, State Farm Mutual Insurance company takes a bulk of business in the state, with 18.5% of all policies.

How these increases compare

Assuming these hikes are approved, they would be among the lowest rate increases to go into effect for auto insurance in New Mexico in 2017. As of August, a total of 12 companies have been approved for rate changes by regulators in the state. The average increase in premiums arising from those decisions is 5.2%. Among the approved changes, the largest hikes were for United Services Automobile Association Group (with an average increase of 13.9%); Farmers Insurance Group (12.5% on average); and Nationwide Corporation Group (8.8% on average).

In comparison to the rest of the U.S., car owners in New Mexico settle into the middle of the pack when it comes to the cost of their auto insurance. Premiums are 9% less expensive than the average premiums for car owners in the country as a whole, with New Mexico policyholders facing an average annual fee of $1,371 to insure their cars.

That annual tab translates into an average monthly cost of $114, which makes New Mexico the 21st cheapest state for auto insurance in the U.S. New Mexico’s neighbors, Texas and Colorado, are on the more expensive end of the spectrum, paying an average of $135 and $130 respectively. However, just to the west of New Mexico lies Arizona, where car owners enjoy the 14th cheapest premiums in the nation, at only $102 per month on average.

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