A bill to ban insurance companies from using your credit information to determine how much you pay for auto and homeowners insurance is working its way through Washington’s Legislature. Insurers have argued that credit information is a good predictor of the likelihood you’ll file a claim in the future and there’s nothing unfair about it. They’re just assessing risk and isn’t that what insurance is all about?
Yes and no.
For more than two decades, insurance companies have used your credit score to determine how much you pay for auto, homeowner, renters and other types of insurance. They file complex rating models with insurance commissioners across the country, claiming these scores predict who will file claims in the future. After all, insurance is about avoiding risk.
But what does your credit information have to do with how you drive your car or maintain your property? Shouldn’t your insurance premium be based on these factors or on how many claims you’ve filed and the cost of those claims?
Three people in Washington state face insurance fraud charges after investigations by Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler’s Criminal Investigations Unit (CIU).
Arnold Bodner was charged in Island County Superior Court with one felony count of filing a fraudulent insurance claim. According to the investigation, Bodner filed a claim with his auto insurer in March 2019 for his 2006 Hummer H2. He claimed that he loaned the car to a friend in December 2018 and the friend sold it without his permission. First National Insurance Co. of America, his insurer, investigated and found documentation showing Bodner had sold the vehicle to an…
Although the Trump administration has after four years has finally done something that could actually help the nation’s healthcare system, what’s distressing are its continuing actions that stand to reverse any positive movement.
The administration last week issued a final a rule designed to enhance price transparency requirements for healthcare. This includes a mandate that some health plans make public the rates negotiated with medical providers included in the plan’s network.
Prices for drugs would also be made available.
If carried out successfully — certainly no guarantee under this administration — the rule in practice would give consumers a realistic…
Wildfires in Washington state have burned hundreds of thousands of acres in recent weeks. Sadly, with recovery often comes people who are trying to profit off the large-scale disaster. Estimates for this year’s fire are that over 300 homes were destroyed or damaged and around 375 minor structures (outbuildings like standalone garages, sheds, etc.) were destroyed or damaged.
One consumer reported to us that contractors were waiting in the stairwell of an apartment building while people were evacuating, claiming to represent an insurance company and asking residents to sign a work authorization for restoration and repair. …
If you’re one of the thousands of people in Washington state who’ve lost your job and your health insurance, we know these are incredibly difficult times for you and your family. Unfortunately, you also need to watch out for bad actors trying to take advantage of your situation.
We’ve heard from consumers shopping for health insurance who thought they were on the state’s official health insurance exchange, only to learn later they’d been tricked into buying less substantial coverage.
Like many services, the court system had to rethink the way it does business during the coronavirus pandemic. Starting with the June cases, all suspects have attended hearings via video conference.
Kreidler’s Criminal Investigations Unit (CIU) investigates insurance fraud and works with the Washington State Patrol and state and local prosecutors on criminal cases. Insurance fraud costs the average family $400 to $700 per year in increased premiums. Insurance companies are required by law to report fraud to the commissioner.
Anyone can report suspected insurance fraud on the insurance commissioner’s website.
Jamar Glenn pleaded guilty in Pierce County Superior Court…
The Office of the Insurance Commissioner (OIC) has taken many steps to help insurance consumers during the coronavirus pandemic, and that work continues.
We also have found ways to help insurance producers — known as insurance agents and brokers — who may have been affected by the statewide shutdown and resulting economic fallout.
A core part of the OIC’s mission is to help consumers who have filed complaints against their insurance companies and hold insurance companies and producers accountable if they engage in discriminatory practices.
In a message to staff last week, Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler said:
“As an agency that works every day to help people, we know that deep inequities exist that negatively affect many, especially people of color.
“We see the deep inequities that exist in the physical and behavioral health care system. We know that circumstances in which individuals live, work and play determine their overall health. …
People who have lost their employer-sponsored health insurance should be extremely cautious when considering offers that promise great coverage for bargain-basement premiums, said Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler.
“Unfortunately, during tough times there will be unscrupulous operators promising great coverage for a low price,” Kreidler said. “Far too often, consumers are promised the moon only to find out too late they’re not really protected.”
Washington state Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler regulates the insurance industry and protects insurance consumers.