Legislative effort to end rating practice announced
Insurance Commissioner Trinidad Navarro and the Consumer Federation of America (CFA) today released Gender Disparities in Auto Insurance Pricing, a new report that shows many women are being charged more by auto insurers based solely on their gender. Data shows that many Delaware women pay more per year in premiums, even when all other factors are the same, with several major companies’ differentials around 8-9%. While there are more female drivers on the road, state data shows that men are involved in more accidents. The Commissioner is working with the General Assembly to end the rating practice.
“Today’s report will be eye-opening for many consumers as they see major insurers charging higher premiums based on gender. We’re making progress towards gender equity, but systemic disparities continue to be found in unexpected areas of our lives,” said Insurance Commissioner Trinidad Navarro. “The good news is that we can fix this – several other states have already removed gender as a pricing factor. It’s time we do the same.”
The report outlines the economic necessity of auto insurance, the heightened financial disadvantage of individuals experiencing cost disparities, and identifies gender’s inadequate correlation to risk. Six states—California, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Michigan, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania—have already eliminated the potential for gender-based pricing disparities.
“Despite the concerning data in this report, now is not the time to call your agent and change insurers – now is the time to call your legislator. We must solve this issue for every person, and your advocacy can help make that happen,” explained Commissioner Navarro. “I am grateful that two of our state’s strongest advocates for gender equality, Majority Leader Valerie Longhurst and Senator Kyle Evans Gay will lead the effort to end this pricing practice through the General Assembly. Their successes in the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment and leadership in the new Legislative Women’s Caucus, combined with public support, will put us on the path to progress.”
Legislation to remove sex, gender, and gender identity from the personal auto insurance rating process will be filed this week as Senate Bill 231. The bill’s announcement coincides with the beginning of Women’s History Month.
“Having a method of transportation is key to much of our daily lives, whether it’s getting to and from work, or being able to shop for necessities. Residents are required to purchase auto insurance both to drive legally, and to access our economy,” said House Majority Leader Valerie Longhurst. “It’s critical that the system by which consumers’ premiums are set does not create different outcomes based on gender identity, especially when so many people already face persistent systemic and financial disadvantages, including the wage gap. This legislation is a no-brainer, and I urge my colleagues in the General Assembly to support it.”
“Most Delawareans would be surprised to learn that gender factors have any bearing on premium pricing, which should be based in data and accident records,” said Sen. Kyle Evans Gay, prime sponsor of the legislation. “I recently worked with advocates on a related issue to allow for gender to be accurately reflected on driver’s licenses. Gender equality is foundational to the laws of our state, and we must enforce it at every opportunity — particularly when it comes to commodities so ubiquitous as driver’s licenses and auto insurance.”
“Many auto insurers are charging women with perfect driving records higher premiums simply because of their gender,” said Douglas Heller, Director of Insurance at CFA. “While most people think auto insurance pricing favors women, our research confirms other recent studies demonstrating that, on average, women pay more. Delaware requires that every driver buy insurance, so lawmakers should act to prohibit the gender surcharge many companies impose on their female customers. ”
CFA acquired data on auto insurance premiums charged by carriers from Quadrant Information Services, LLC, which in part informs the report.
“Pricing for auto insurance should be based on your motor vehicle record and other factors related to your driving, not based on your gender,” agreed Michael DeLong, CFA’s Research and Advocacy Associate. “We commend Commissioner Navarro, Majority Leader Longhurst, and Senator Gay for standing up to the insurance lobby and fighting for what is right.”