Commercial Lettering on Passenger Vehicle

    Posted by MAIA on Jun 11, 2019, 12:01:00 AM


    This question was answered based upon current rules, regulations & statutes in effect on May 03, 2019

    Good afternoon Irene,

    Hope you are well. I was hoping you might be able to help me understand eligibility for a MAP if a vehicle has commercial lettering on it but not used for business (solely to commute the owner to the business address).

    Reason being, I have an insured who owns a business and a couple of his personal vehicles have lettering (just advertising the business name) on the personal autos (GMC Yukon & GMC Sierra) which we currently insure on a MAP through a standard MA auto carrier. But the underwriter has advised that a vehicle with commercial lettering is not eligible for a MAP. As far as I can tell the vehicles meet the definition of a private passenger auto and do not fall under the exclusions so would it not technically be eligible?

    I consulted with other insurers’ underwriters and one told me as long as it isn’t used commercially or by employees and we can generate a symbol in rating then it would be acceptable. But another underwriter told me it’s not necessarily ineligible for a MAP but they don’t have an appetite for it. Is this something that insurers can actually decline to cover just based on preference as oppose to following the MAP rules?

    Thank you in advance for your time I appreciate it!


    Irene Morrill:   There is no MAIP rule that states vehicles with lettering are not eligible for a MAP.  If they are individually owned and registered to owners drivers license number and not the EIN/FID number then vehicles are eligible for a MAIP MAP assignment 

    Commercial lettering just means a commercial plate is necessary and type of plate does NOT determine type of policy …at least in MAIP rules

    I don’t know if a particular company truly has a rule or the underwriter is just mis-informed.  In competitive auto on a voluntary basis a carrier COULD have such a rule. 

    I’m sending this to Kathy Cormier, CPPL, Member Relations Advocate.  If you tell her carrier she might be able to give you link to their rule.

    Kathy Cormier:   I agree with Irene...Who is the carrier?

    Also, because he has lettering for his company of the Sierra (pickup truck) there could be issues if he is subject to the USDOT because of the much does the Sierra weight GVWR?

    Agent:  Thanks for getting back to me! The carrier that advised me that it wouldn’t be eligible for a personal auto policy was Plymouth Rock. I checked NADA guides and the GVW for  the 2006 GMC Sierra 2500HD is 9,200lbs. and 7K lbs fro the 03 GMC Yukon.

     The commercial plate should be fine with our personal lines carriers since it would only be for the signage, we may just have to move the vehicles from PRAC since they currently insure them now.

    Kathy Cormier:  A carrier can decline to write a risk  voluntarily for any reason as long as it is not discriminatory.  If you can’t place the coverage with another voluntary carrier, you always have access to the MAIP.

    If it is an existing policy and it is after the first 90 days of issue the carrier would have to stay on the policy until renewal and then they could non-renew that risk.

    Agent: Understood! Kathy/Irene thank you again for your quick reply and detailed information I greatly appreciate it!

    This document is not a legal opinion and should not be relied upon as such. The intent of this document is to provide a general background regarding the topic or topics discussed, not to provide legal advice. Producers and agencies should consult an attorney regarding specific situations and specific questions with respect to the topic or topics covered in this document. Neither the Massachusetts Association of Insurance Agents, Number One Insurance Agency nor any of its employees shall be responsible for any errors or omissions regarding any statements made in this document, nor any errors or omissions regarding any statutes, regulations, court rules, and/or any other government documents cited in this document.

    Topics: Personal, 2019

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