Is WA AG Insurance Investigation Retaliation for Credit Scoring Defeat?
The timing of this so-called investigation is curious
WA State Attorney General investigates two insurance companies
Tuesday, November 8th, WA State AG Bob Ferguson announced a Thurston County judge is going to allow him to continue his "investigation" into PEMCO and Progressive Insurance Companies. According to the AG:
".. a Thurston County Superior Court judge rejected an attempt by PEMCO Mutual Insurance Company and subsidiaries of the Progressive Corporation to stop his office’s investigation of potential race discrimination against Washington drivers."
At issue is the long-time practice of credit scoring, which has been used by insurance companies for decades, especially when it comes to auto insurance.
We reported last November, and it was reaffirmed earlier this year, that WA State Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler overstepped his authority in trying to ban the practice. He claimed using a person's credit scores to help determine their rates and worthiness was "racist" and "discriminatory."
The facts show, study after study, decade after decade, the better your credit, the lower your insurance risk.
A Tri-City area insurance agent told us when states ban credit-based scoring, it takes away the lower rates for safer drivers. They are forced to help assume the risk from younger, more careless motorists. And, those people tend to have lower credit scores and are often less financially responsible.
The risk and increased cost for less safe drivers are "spread out" among safer motorists.
So, it's curious that now AG Ferguson is investigating PEMCO and Progressive for what he claims are racist policies:
“Significant evidence shows that using credit history to price insurance disproportionately affects people of color — even when their driving history is just as safe as white drivers. My office has a responsibility to investigate race discrimination against Washingtonians. I intend to do that."
It appears that following Kreidler's stinging defeat by a judge, Ferguson could now attempt to challenge this practice by using an investigation as an end-run around the ruling.
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