Congress takes up insurance rate discrimination

After an InvestigateTV story on car insurance, committee asks for expert testimony

Congress takes up insurance rate discrimination

(InvestigateTV) - A story by InvestigateTV is getting the attention of Congress, which is now taking expert testimony about the ways car insurance companies use various factors to set rates.

In the original story, InvestigateTV exposed that more than your driving record is driving up the cost of your auto insurance.

The findings showed that someone with a perfect driving record but a lower education and lower-paying job could be charged more than someone with serious driving-related convictions but more education and a traditionally higher-paying job.

On March 4, Congress held a hearing on rate discrimination and is considering whether something needs to change. The hearing was titled “Drivers of discrimination: an examination of unfair premiums, practices and policies in the auto insurance industry.”

One of the experts called to testify before a House subcommittee was Eric Poe, an insurance insider and whistleblower featured in the original reporting. Lawmakers reached out to him one week after the interview aired at TV stations nationwide.

Poe is the chief operating officer of Cure Auto Insurance, a non-profit competitor to the big auto insurance companies.

“I think your piece was so Instrumental in bringing this issue back to life. The reality is this issue has been something that we’ve been crusading for for the last 15 years. And without national coverage on this issue, I don’t think we’re ever going to get legislators to actually move on this practice,” Poe said.

The subcommittee called several other witnesses. Three testified for federal law to regulate how insurance companies set rates.

Erin Collins, the vice president of state affairs for the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies, also testified on behalf of the group representing insurance companies. Collins told lawmakers the agency was strongly opposed to broad regulations.

“The flawed premise underlying these legislative proposals is an unsubstantiated allegation of bias and inherent unfairness arising out of the use of certain information to underwrite and rate automobile insurance," Collins said.

This particular subcommittee is looking at two potential bills, one of which is H.R. 1756. That legislation would prevent insurance companies from using a credit score to set rates.

It’s also considering creating a study of the issue.

You can read witness statements and watch the hearing here.

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