Nationwide Insurance is returning to New Jersey to sell auto policies, giving motorists more choices for coverage, the state and company announced Friday.
The Columbus, Ohio-based insurer stopped offering auto coverage in the state in 1981, but has served the market through affiliates such as Scottsdale and Harleysville Insurance, which merged with Nationwide in 2012.
Nationwide will begin writing policies in August, marketing them over the phone, Internet and through 179 agencies in New York, Pennsylvania and Delaware.
"This is positive news for consumers as it gives them more choices. The company's decision to begin offering auto insurance policies here also indicates that the state's insurance market is strong, New Jersey Banking and Insurance Commissioner Ken Kobylowski said in a statement.
Nationwide's arrival means nine of the nation's top 10 auto insurers are writing policies in New Jersey.
"Expanding into the Garden State is an important step in Nationwide's goal to become a truly national brand," Nationwide president and chief operating officer Mark Pizzi said in a statement.
There were 77 active insurance companies and 35 insurance groups writing auto policies in New Jersey with a total of $6.82 billion in written premiums in 2013, the state said.