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NAIC to Review Concerns Over Consumers and Credit

Source: NAIC

Posted on 17 Mar 2009

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The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) on Monday adopted a proposal to review the use of credit-based insurance scoring. The NAIC will convene a public hearing to take testimony on the following issues.

* What is a credit-based insurance score?

* How does the insurance industry use credit-based insurance scores for pricing and underwriting?

* What is the impact on policyholder premium from credit-based insurance scores in light of the current economic conditions?

“This is a critical issue for the NAIC to consider as part of the 2009 consumer liaison agenda,” said New Mexico Insurance Superintendent Morris J. (Mo) Chavez, who chairs the NAIC/Consumer Liaison Committee. “In this challenging economy, it is essential that insurance regulators have the necessary tools to prevent collapsing credit markets from unfairly impacting consumers.”

Proponents for the use of credit-based insurance scores argue that they are predictive of an insured’s future claims experience, and are necessary tools for underwriting and/or rating. Critics argue that the use of credit-based insurance scores unfairly discriminate against lower-income individuals and some protected classes of people.

Forty-eight states have taken some form of legislative or regulatory action limiting the use of credit-based insurance scores, including:

* Some states have limited the use of credit-based insurance scoring, requiring that it not be the sole rating factor used by insurers to evaluate risk.

* Some states believe that the process itself is not intended to be discriminatory, and any disparate impact based on race or ethnicity is merely coincidental.

* Some states believe that a majority of policyholders benefit from the use of credit scoring.

* Some states have taken issue with the use of credit scores and other rating criteria, such as occupation and education.

* Some states prohibit the use of credit-based insurance scores.