In 2023 Maryland Auto is celebrating our 50th anniversary!
The Maryland Automobile Insurance Fund began operations in 1973. The Maryland legislature created the quasi-state agency to provide auto insurance coverage for Maryland drivers who are unable to obtain coverage in the standard market.
Since beginning operation in January 1973, Maryland Auto has been a mission-driven agency, dedicated to making auto insurance accessible to all Maryland residents and reducing the number of uninsured drivers on our roadways.
The creation of Maryland Auto was part of what was referred to as the “Mandel Plan.” Governor Marvin Mandel strongly supported the legislation that created Maryland Auto. In 1972 he also signed a bill into law making it compulsory for all Maryland motorists to carry auto insurance.
Prior to that time, Maryland drivers who were rejected by other insurance companies had to rely on a privately-run insurance plan. With insurance now required for all vehicles, Governor Mandel wanted to create a state-run entity with the mission to provide coverage to Marylanders who couldn’t get insurance elsewhere. According to an April 26, 1972 article in the Baltimore Sun, “The automobile reform measure is one of Mr. Mandel’s major triumphs of the General Assembly session.”
The article refers to Maryland Auto as, “the first state-run automobile insurance company.” Fifty years later, we’re still one-of-a-kind.
“Maryland Auto is a unique entity. No other state has created an agency solely intended to serve the segment of drivers who are ineligible for coverage in the standard market. Governor Mandel and the members of the General Assembly in the early 1970s saw a need for more protection for Maryland drivers. Maryland Auto was created solely for this purpose,” says Maryland Auto Executive Director, Al Redmer, Jr.
Over our 50 years in operation, Maryland Auto has issued millions of policies to Maryland drivers. Currently, we insure approximately 25,000 policyholders for personal and commercial auto coverage.
The existence of Maryland Auto benefits all Maryland drivers. Our mission of reducing the number of uninsured drivers on Maryland roadways lowers the risk of being involved in an accident with a driver who is not covered. And our efforts to combat insurance fraud in the state, helps to reduce insurance costs for all drivers.
Our mission also supports Marylanders who are experiencing financial difficulties. Obtaining coverage through Maryland Auto can help these financially vulnerable residents get back on the road to a better life. Despite a common misconception that Maryland Auto is only for new or bad drivers, the majority of our policyholders have relatively clean driving records and have been turned down by other carriers for lapses in coverage, credit score, or other similar issues.
“We often hear that Maryland Auto is for brand new drivers or people with multiple speeding tickets or DUIs. And yes, we do insure drivers who’ve had some bumps in the road. But nearly 70% of our policyholders are people who are good, safe drivers and have had financial or credit issues that have made it hard for them to find coverage from other carriers. Being here to assist these financially vulnerable residents to stay insured and eventually qualify for coverage elsewhere is why Maryland Auto was created,” said Mr. Redmer.
Maryland Auto offers our policies to drivers through a network of over 1,400 producer partners across the state. This group of insurance professionals assists Maryland drivers in purchasing coverage with us. Many authorized providers who joined Maryland Auto in 1973 are still in business and continue to partner with us today. Over the next year, we will share profiles of some of these producer partners on our blog, so watch for these pieces.
Maryland Auto Then and Now
Along with the rest of the insurance industry, Maryland Auto has evolved between 1973 and 2023.
- When Maryland Auto opened its doors in 1973, there were 548 employees. Thanks to technological innovations that have streamlined processes and a smaller policy count, Maryland Auto now has approximately 200 employees.
- The average private passenger premium price was $310 in 1973 and is now slightly over $2,000.
- The main office was located at 1900 Sulphur Spring Road in Baltimore, and our claim centers were in Glen Burnie, Towson, College Park, and Arbutus. After calling Annapolis home for over 30 years, Maryland Auto relocated back to Baltimore with the headquarters at 1215 East Fort Ave in 2015. A hybrid work environment of teleworking and in-office work is available to most employees.
- The Board of Trustees was comprised of three members when Maryland Auto was created. Our Board of Trustees has since expanded to nine members.
- Maryland Auto has had eight executive directors over the past 50 years, leading the company in the execution of our mission. Our current executive director is Al Redmer, Jr., who previously served two terms as Maryland Insurance Commissioner, and is the longest-tenured person in that role. Mr. Redmer was appointed as Executive Director in 2020 to replace Mark D. McCurdy, upon his retirement. Mr. McCurdy served Maryland Auto as the Executive Director for five years and as General Counsel for 23 years prior to that.
Maryland Auto in Recent Years
Maryland Auto’s role has expanded over recent years. The organization has been tasked with leading uninsured driver awareness efforts for the state. Maryland Auto provides financial and driver safety resources on our website and social media channels. In addition, we attend community events across the state to inform the public of the importance of insurance. Maryland Auto also partners with the Maryland Department of Transportation, Motor Vehicle Administration (MDOT MVA) to engage recently uninsured Maryland drivers, and advise them of their options. Additionally, our Uninsured Division handled the State’s uninsured fine forgiveness program, FineFix, which gave approximately 20,000 Marylanders the opportunity to resolve outstanding penalties, clear registration flags, and register and insure vehicles.
Maryland Auto has changed throughout the years, expanding coverages and options, adapting to new technologies, and rebranding from “MAIF” to “Maryland Auto” in 2015, all to make obtaining insurance more attainable to Maryland drivers.
In 2022, Maryland Auto began offering higher combined single limits to select Commercial Auto policyholders in May. These policies provide limits ranging from $500K to $1M. This offers more opportunities for our Commercial Auto customers. Given our proximity to Washington, D.C., and Baltimore, our customers want to bid on government contracts. If a business cannot obtain higher limits, they may not be able to bid on these types of contracts.
We also introduced an improved interest-free payment option in 2022, making it more accessible and easier for consumers to take advantage of the program and save on their insurance costs.
Through the many changes over the past 50 years, the mission has remained the same: to provide accessible to insurance for all eligible Maryland drivers. Maryland Auto has adapted throughout the last 50 years and will continue to leave a lasting impact on drivers for the better.
“The ability to legally drive a vehicle opens the door to opportunities. It provides access to employment, health care, child care, education, groceries, and recreation – on the consumer’s own terms. And insurance is an important part of that. When we provide insurance to drivers who currently do not qualify for coverage from standard carriers, we also put them on the road to a better life,” Mr. Redmer said.