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Credit Score Rate Setting Criticized

March 19th, 2009 by Mike Vasilinda

Pressure is building on auto insurers in Florida to stop using credit scores to set auto insurance rates. Two bills to prohibit the practice are pending before state lawmakers, and as Mike Vasilinda tells us, the legislation got a big boost today.

In February, the insurance industry testified the use of credit scores was a better predictor of risk than how many tickets or accidents may be on your record.

What the industry couldn’t or wouldn’t answer for regulators was why.

CFO Alex Sink asked the same questions and came away dissatisfied with what she was told.

“Well that’s the same kind of BS that they gave me when they came to meet with me and that’s what I think it is,” Sink said. “They can’t explain themselves.”

Sink and her insurance consumer advocate are calling for an end to the use of credit scores completely in insurance rate setting.

Rep. Priscilla Taylor has one of two bills are pending before state lawmakers.

“Because in some cases, individuals are paying 75 to 80 percent for insurance who have no tickets, no violations, only because they have a low credit score,” Taylor said.

But auto insurers are sticking to their guns, saying people with good credit will pay more for insurance if credit scores aren’t part of the calculation.

“I can’t give you details of how the studies are done,” Gary Landry with the Florida Insurance Council said. “These are scientific studies that have been done repeatedly and these studies have shown those who manage their credit wisely are a better risk.”

In addition to legislation, insurance regulators are also considering a rule to prohibit credit scores from being part of the rate setting process.

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