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EDITORIAL: Sharing Credit

Jan 21, 2007

By The Sun, Lowell, Mass.

Jan. 22--Many people will try to take credit for the upcoming reductions in Massachusetts' auto-insurance rates. Unfortunately, two of those most involved in pushing for insurance reform and working to achieve rate reductions are no longer serving in state government.

Former Insurance Commissioner Julianne Bowler and former Attorney General Tom Reilly fought long and hard to correct many of the flaws in the auto-insurance system and to crack down on insurance fraud. Their efforts went a long way toward gaining the reduced rates Lowell area motorists will soon be seeing on their policy statements.

During her tenure, Bowler -- a Republican -- strived for auto-insurance reform, arguing vociferously with those in power and battling the arm-twisting employed by auto insurers. Regrettably, many of the initiatives Bowler proposed have yet to be embraced by the Legislature. We are still hoping legislators will see the light.

Reilly -- a Democrat -- also fought the good fight against insurance fraud, pushed for safe-driver discounts and to open up the Massachusetts' auto-insurance market to national insurers.

It is interesting that Bowler and Reilly were able to work across party lines toward a common goal. It is to be hoped that with the Democrats now in control of both the Statehouse and the governor's office, even more can be accomplished on auto-insurance reform.

The big question is: Will Gov. Deval Patrick continue efforts toward insurance reform or will he give in to the lobbying efforts of the auto-insurance industry? Keep in mind, auto insurers -- including Commerce Insurance, the state's largest company in the business -- helped finance many of Patrick's lavish inaugural celebrations.

We certainly hope Patrick has the fortitude and strength of character to continue the auto-insurance battle waged so diligently by Bowler and Reilly. In the meantime, let's give rate-reduction credit to those whom it is due -- former Insurance Commissioner Bowler and former AG Reilly.

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Copyright (c) 2007, The Sun, Lowell, Mass.

Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Business News.

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