American Commerce Insurance, a subsidiary of the Massachusetts-based Commerce Group, has become the newest insurer to enter the New Jersey market and began writing policies in mid-June. American Commerce is the eighth company to be added to New Jersey’s auto insurance market since the state legislature loosened insurance regulations in 2003 and made it simpler and more profitable to operate in the state.
Larry Pentis, American Commerce’s executive vice president and COO for operations outside of Massachusetts, was quoted saying in the Star-Ledger that American Commerce is accustomed to a "tougher regulatory climate" because it has been the largest insurer in Massachusetts, another state viewed by insurers as over-regulated, for many years.
“We feel New Jersey is not as tough as it used to be," Pentis said. “It’s a state that’s a little more challenging. We feel we’ll do well. It’s a good market.”
For now, the company is only selling auto insurance in New Jersey but hopes to offer homeowners insurance by the end of this year. The majority of new insurers in the state sell policies over the Internet or by phone, but American Commerce will be sold through a network of nearly 30 independent agents.