(The Center Square) — The insurance industry isn’t happy with Washington State Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler’s latest attempt to ban the use of credit scores to set rates home, rental and car insurance.
“We are calling Commissioner Kreidler and the [Office of the Insurance Commissioner] not to adopt this rule,” Claire Howard, senior vice president of the American Property Casualty Insurance Association (APCIA), said in a statement.
Howard said the rule “will continue to disrupt Washington’s home and auto insurance market and drive up rates for more than one million consumers, including seniors on fixed incomes, as did its predecessor the Emergency Rule, which was declared invalid…by order of a superior Thurston County Court Judge.
On Oct. 8, Thurston County Superior Court Judge Mary Sue Wilson granted summary judgment to the insurance industry and overturned Kreidler’s ban on emergency rule insurance pricing.
The Office of the Insurance Commissioner (OIC) held a virtual meeting Nov. 23 to seek feedback on its proposed new rule to ban the use of credit scores in setting insurance rates, which would last for three years.
The credit pricing ban was meant to be implemented in a revenue-neutral way, meaning that while some people with good credit would see their rates go up, those with lower credit scores would see their costs go down.
The insurance industry says it led to rate hikes on more than a million Washington residents with good credit, many of whom are retirees on fixed incomes.
In addition to questioning the factual and moral basis of the new rule, APCIA accused of procedural irregularities.
“We also strongly oppose the passage of this rule and the unopen and transparent process used to finalize the rule,” Howard said.
She accused the hearing process “of operating under guidelines that limited those testifying to two minutes and discouraged those who submitted letters of comment from explaining their objection during oral testimony”, which is “contrary to the Administrative Procedures Act (APA)”.
A spokeswoman for the insurance commissioner disputed that claim.
“The accusation by the insurance industry trade association is false,” OCI media and outreach manager Stephanie Marquis told The Center Square. “The APA outlines how the agency must provide the opportunity to make oral comments during a rulemaking hearing. Rule-making hearings are legislative in nature and are conducted by the presiding officer in such a way as to allow all interested persons to present their comments individually. All comments must be made in the presence and listening of the other participants.
Marquis said the OCI received “approximately 3,000 comments” on the proposed rule ahead of the hearing and “anticipates a lot of people who want 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 had had a chance to testify once, we would come back to anyone who wanted to speak more and allow them to speak as much as they wanted. wanted it. We did it. The audience was open until everyone who wanted to speak was fully heard.
The hearing was broadcast on TVW and lasted one hour and 46 minutes.
The OIC is trying to implement the new rule by January 1, 2022.