(The Center Square) – The insurance industry is not happy with the latest efforts by Washington State Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler to ban the use of credit scores in rate setting home, rental and car insurance.
“We call on Commissioner Kreidler and the [Office of the Insurance Commissioner] not to adopt this rule, ”said Claire Howard, senior vice president of the American Property Casualty Insurance Association (APCIA), in a statement.
Howard accused the rule “will continue to disrupt the Washington homeowner and auto insurance market and raise rates for more than a million consumers, including fixed-income seniors, as will the United States. emergency rule that preceded it, which was declared invalid… by order of a superior in Thurston County. Judge of the Court.
On October 8, Thurston County Superior Court Judge Mary Sue Wilson issued summary judgment to the insurance industry and overturned Kreidler’s ban on insurance pricing by rule emergency.
The Office of the Insurance Commissioner (OIC) held a virtual meeting on November 23 to solicit comments on its proposed new rule to ban the use of credit ratings in setting insurance rates, which would last for three years.
The credit pricing ban was meant to be implemented in an income neutral manner, meaning that if some people with good credit saw their rates increase, those with lower credit scores would see their rates rise. costs go down.
The insurance industry claims this has led to rate hikes for more than a million Washington residents with good credit, many of whom are fixed income retirees.
In addition to questioning the factual and moral basis of the new rule, the APCIA accused procedural irregularities.
“We also strongly oppose the passage of this rule and the little open and transparent process used to finalize the rule,” Howard said.
She accused the hearing process “of operating under guidelines limiting people testifying to two minutes and discouraging those who submitted letters of comment from explaining their opposition during oral testimony,” which is ” contrary to the law on administrative procedures (APA) “.
A spokesperson for the Insurance Commissioner disputed this assertion.
“The accusation of the professional association of the insurance industry is false,” OIC media and outreach officer Stephanie Marquis told The Center Square. “The APA describes how the agency should provide the opportunity to make oral comments at a rule-making hearing. Rule-making hearings are legislative in nature and are conducted by the presiding officer in a manner that allows all interested parties the opportunity to comment individually. All comments must be made in the presence and hearing of the other participants.
Marquis said the Commissioner’s office had received “about 3,000 comments” on the proposed rule before the hearing and “anticipated many people who wished to testify at the hearing.”
“Legislative hearings often place time limits on public testimony in order to hear from as many people as possible,” she said. “We let everyone know at the start of the hearing that once everyone has had a chance to testify, we will go back to anyone who wants to speak more and allow them to speak as much as they can. wish. We did it. The hearing was open until all who wanted to speak were fully heard.
The hearing was broadcast on TVW and lasted one hour and 46 minutes.
The Office is trying to implement the new rule by January 1, 2022.