Consumers Union has long opposed the use of non-driving factors for setting auto insurance rates because of the discriminatory impact they can have on premiums. Instead, Consumers Union has urged state insurance commissioners to require insurers to base their rates primarily on a policyholder’s driving record, miles driven, and years of driving experience.
In April, a report by ProPublica and Consumer Reports revealed pricing disparities between minority and non-minority neighborhoods that cannot be explained by average risks. The analysis looked at premium quotes for liability insurance – the combination of bodily injury and property damage coverage that drivers must purchase in each of the states examined. These liability premiums were compared to average payouts made by insurers for every zip code in four states–California, Texas, Missouri, and Illinois.
In light of these findings, Consumers Union sent letters to the state auto insurance commissioners in those states and the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. This is the letter sent to the head of the California Department of Insurance, Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones.