Bill seeks to ban tying insurance premiums to credit score

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by CHRIS DANIELS / KING 5 News

NWCN.com

Posted on January 21, 2010 at 12:19 AM

Updated Thursday, Jan 21 at 12:24 AM

OLYMPIA, Wash. - Shawnie McAdams remembers the day she got a letter in the mail from her insurance company.

"I felt completely lost, and couldn't understand it."

The Clinton mother says she had a clean driving record, but her car insurance company suddenly dropped her, after her estranged husband filed for bankruptcy and damaged her credit record.

"I didn't see how I could be held liable for something I had no control over," she said.

"It is really a question of fairness," says State Insurance Commissioner Mike Kriedler, who says he's heard hundreds of similar stories. He testified on Wednesday for a new House bill which would ban the use of credit scores for insurance purposes.  "Look at the factors like a person's driving records or how they maintain their property."

The insurance industry argues the current system is fair, and rewards those who have good credit.

"Study after study shows credit rating is an accurate predictive risk of loss," says Kenton Brine, the Assistant Vice-President for the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America. "People who have certain behaviors with their finance also have those behaviors with their insurance claims activity."

The Senate is also considering a similar bill, and has a hearing scheduled on the matter on January 28.
 

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