Washington Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler says he will seek an effective date of Jan. 1, 2022 for a permanent rule to temporarily ban the use of credit scores for insurance policies for three years.
Kreidler’s emergency order prohibited insurers from using a consumer’s credit score to price auto, renters and homeowners coverage. He’s been working to eliminate credit scores from insurer consideration for some time. His most recent effort failed when a bill he backed, Senate Bill 5010, was gutted by an insurance industry amendment in the Senate Business, Financial Services & Trade Committee on Feb. 15.
A public hearing on the proposed rule is scheduled for Nov. 23.
Kreidler rejected a recent call from the American Property Casualty Insurance Association and the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies to abandon his commitment.
The lobbying groups made the request after a Thurston County Superior Court on Oct. 8 issued a ruling against an emergency rule that took effect in June.
APCIA has argued that the commissioner failed to satisfy the requirements necessary to adopt a rule on an emergency basis and side-step the statutory rulemaking process that requires notice and comment from those who would be affected by the rule.
Since the imposition of Kreidler’s emergency rule, seniors have been disproportionately and negatively impacted, and the emergency rule resulted in higher premiums for more than one million Washington residents, according to the groups.
The groups issued a statement via email from Mark Sektnan, APCIA vice president for state government relations.
The statement reads: “It is time to return to a normal insurance marketplace and end the chaos that Insurance Commissioner Kreidler’s emergency rule created, and that his proposed rule will perpetuate. A return to normal means returning to risk-based pricing for insurance, which includes the use of credit-based insurance scores. Through the Office of the Insurance Commissioner’s emergency rule, now invalidated, we all had an opportunity to see what can happen to consumers when the use of risk-based factors like credit-based insurance scores are not permitted to be used. It means higher premiums for more than a million low-risk policyholders who purchase auto, homeowners’ insurance, renters’ insurance, and other personal lines of coverage.”
“The insurance industry in Washington wants to hang on to an unjust, secretive and unrealistic method to determine what consumers pay for insure their vehicles and homes,” Kreidler said in a statement. “I will continue a well-supported effort to permanently ban credit scoring. Consumers deserve better. The multibillion-dollar industry needs to take action to rid itself of this unreliable practice.”
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