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Allstate Data Shows Philly and LA Have Most Accident-Prone Big-City Drivers

Posted on 09 Jul 2009

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According to Allstate Corp., the biggest publicly traded U.S. auto insurer, Philadelphia and Los Angeles have the most accident-prone big-city drivers.

Philadelphia has scored worst in each of the five years Allstate compiled data for cities with at least 1 million people. The city’s motorists get in a collision every 6.4 years, meaning they have a 57 percent higher chance of being in an accident than the average American driver, Allstate said. Los Angeles drivers get in crashes every 6.8 years, the insurer said in a statement today.

“We are not concurring” with the report, said Jennifer Robinson, a spokeswoman for the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation. She said Philadelphia had its lowest level of car crashes and fatalities in 10 years in 2008 and that Allstate’s estimates, tied to company claims data, may not be based on a large enough sample.

The overall frequency of collision claims increased 1.6 percent in the quarter ended March 31, the first rise since 2007, the Northbrook, Illinois-based insurer said in May. Motorists drove 0.6 percent more miles in April than a year earlier, the U.S. Department of Transportation said last month, ending a record 16 month-streak of driving declines after gas prices fell.

Allstate analyzed company claim data to determine the likelihood of crashes in America’s 200 largest cities. New York, the most populous, ranked 145th, with drivers expected to experience a car crash every eight years.

‘Highly Urbanized’

“No city is made the same,” said Frank Quon, deputy district director for operations for the California Department of Transportation. Los Angeles is “highly urbanized,” with a major central business district and civic centers that may cause its higher rate of accidents, Quon said.

Allstate’s figures may not match government records because the insurer includes minor accidents known as fender benders that may be reported to the insurer and not the police, said Krissy Posey, a spokeswoman for the company.

Insurers study accident trends, health-care costs and prices for replacement parts in determining how much to charge for coverage. Posey said today’s report will not be used directly in setting rates for drivers.

Dallas motorists were rated worst of the Texan drivers in large cities, with an average of 7.2 years expected between collisions. San Antonio drivers had an average of 7.3 years while Houston drivers have an average of 7.6 years.

Phoenix fared the best of the cities with a population more than one million. Drivers from that city are expected to have an accident every 9.2 years. Sioux Falls, South Dakota, ranked first overall, with drivers having an average of 13.5 years between collisions.

The study excluded cities in Massachusetts, where the company hasn’t been selling car coverage. Allstate said in May it plans to reenter the state’s market in November.