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Jan. 16--Metropolitan Property & Casualty Insurance Co. has settled allegations that it failed to refund surcharge premiums to automobile insurance policyholders after those surcharges were eliminated by the Commonwealth's Board of Appeal, or otherwise removed from consumers' driving records, Attorney General Martha Coakley said today.
The agreement will mandate an audit to determine the amount of restitution owed to consumers and will block the alleged overcharges from happening in the future, Coakley said.
"This is another example of an auto insurance rating problem that our office discovered as a result of a consumer complaint," she said. "While we are troubled that these overcharges occurred, we are pleased that we were able to stop this unlawful practice and protect consumers."
The AG's office began its investigation of the Metropolitan Life Insurance Co. affiliate's surcharge practices after receiving a complaint from a Massachusetts consumer whose surcharge had been vacated by the Board of Appeal in 2010. The investigation ultimately revealed that Met P&C had reportedly failed to refund the consumer more than $700 in surcharge premiums, Coakley said, adding Met P&C cooperated with the investigation.
Under terms of the assurance of discontinuance filed in Suffolk Superior Court last week, Met P&C will engage in a supervised audit of the relevant insurance policies to determine refund amounts, provide restitution to consumers plus 6 percent interest, and pay the Commonwealth $50,000 plus additional amounts depending on the results of the audit.
Not all policyholders who had their surcharges vacated by the Board of Appeal are expected to be affected, Coakley said.
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