Report Finds Gender Disparity in Auto Insurance Premiums, Women Charged More for Same Coverage

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.”

View the Gender Disparities in Auto Insurance Pricing Report


Department of Insurance 2021 Data Shows over $21M in Consumer Savings

Successes in serving residents continue

The Delaware Department of Insurance (DOI) today published performance and productivity data for 2021. While the pandemic necessitated continued operational adjustments, staff continued to focus efforts on consumer services and saw great success. The department also released an infographic of key statistics.

“Year after year, our DOI team delivers for Delaware. In the face of many changes and challenges due to COVID-19, we continued to prioritize consumer services, and never wavered from that commitment,” said Insurance Commissioner Trinidad Navarro. “This year in review provides just a glimpse into the incredibly vast and diverse array of work our team takes on, and I look forward to continuing to make a difference every day in 2022.”

Despite minimal in-person events, services directed to individual consumers and local businesses continued to thrive in 2021. The Delaware Medicare Assistance Bureau (DMAB) held more than 5,500 free one-on-one counseling sessions with residents, ultimately saving beneficiaries a combined $521,000 – an increase of more than $230,000 compared to 2020 savings. The Consumer Services Division managed over 3,000 complaints and inquiries, recovering nearly $700,000 for consumers. In the Legal Division, 274 settled arbitration cases resulted in awards totaling more than $640,000. These services, combined with $12.3 million in ACA plan refunds and $7.4 million in workplace safety savings, amount to over $21.5 million for Delaware’s insurance consumers in 2021.

A critical focus of the department during COVID-19 continues to be ensuring health insurer compliance with state and federal rules, coverage requirements, and initiatives to reduce burdens on hospitals and those seeking care. The Market Conduct team continued investigations into insurer’s Mental Health Parity compliance, resulting in $635,000 in fines. Throughout the ACA Special Enrollment Period, more than 21,000 residents took advantage of increased subsidies and savings from the American Rescue Plan, saving an average of 53% on their monthly premiums – a savings of $1.2 million in total. To protect consumers and create a nationwide network of strong regulation, Commissioner Navarro successfully worked to create the National Improper Marketing of Health Plans Working Group within the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.

Nationally, Commissioner Navarro and the department remain engaged in numerous industry organizations. The Commissioner was recently named Vice-Chair of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners’ Market Regulation and Consumer Affairs (D) Committee, a prestigious honor, in addition to being elected to the Executive Committee of the Northeast Zone and continuing to serve as Chair of the National Anti-Fraud Task Force. Delaware continues to participate in the Special Committee on Race and Insurance, the Healthcare Fraud Prevention Partnership, the National Insurance Crime Bureau Medical Task Force, the Delaware Valley Association of International Special Investigative Units, and other committees and groups.

In 2021, the General Assembly utilized virtual procedures for session. DOI pursued 14 pieces of legislation with our partners in Legislative Hall and engaged with more than 30 insurance-related bills, including legislation to regulate the multi-billion-dollar Pharmacy Benefit Manager industry, protecting consumers of auto and homeowner’s insurance, and making progress on issues like health care access and pharmaceutical costs. The DOI also continued to work on other legislative mandates, such as the Office of Value-Based Health Care Delivery.

In Market Conduct, 16 completed insurer examinations resulted in $1.2 million in fines, and several examinations are in progress. More than 50,000 licenses were issued, and licenses total more than 200,000. Across all lines of insurance, more than 30,000 rates and forms were processed and approved.

The Bureau of Examination, Rehabilitation and Guaranty oversees the financials of 136 domestic companies that manage $680.6 billion, and more than 2,000 other companies operating in the state. They completed 62 financial examinations, and have 49 exams in progress, in addition to completing nearly 3,500 other projects including Uniform Certificate of Authority Application amendments and Security Exchange Requests.

The Fraud Bureau worked to investigate many tips and reports, and 5 criminal cases of insurance fraud were indicted in addition to the collection of nearly $9,500 in civil penalties.

Going into 2022, businesses will see the fifth consecutive decrease in Workers’ Compensation premiums, an average reduction of more than 20%. The Workplace Safety team engaged more than 1,200 companies in earning additional savings in 2021.

The Captive Division, named a finalist for International Captive Domicile of the Year, received 70 new applications and has 759 licenses in effect.

View the 2021 Infographic


Workers’ Comp Rates to Decrease for Fifth Consecutive Year

Double-digit drop effective December 1

Insurance Commissioner Trinidad Navarro announced today that workers’ compensation insurance rates will decrease for the fifth year in a row, effective December 1, 2021. The voluntary market is seeing yet another double-digit decrease in voluntary market loss costs, with an average 21.02% reduction, and residual market rates will go down an average of 20.01%.

“We have worked hard to lower worker’s compensations costs year after year to help our local businesses and attract new ones to our state. I’m proud to say that companies are doing their part to reduce risks through programs like our Workplace Safety initiative as well,” said Insurance Commissioner Trinidad Navarro.

Workers’ compensation insurance is an employer cost that provides coverage when an employee is hurt on the job, it can provide medical coverage as well as payments for lost wages if a person is unable to come to work due to their injury. Lower premiums do not change the amount of compensation an injured employee receives.

The Delaware Compensation Rating Bureau (DCRB) agreed to the lower rates after discussion with the Department of Insurance and the State’s Ratepayer Advocate. The approval process included a review of the DCRB filing by actuaries for each party, and a public hearing. Actual savings vary by policy.

These lower rates are just one component of several efforts shepherded by the Department to help businesses financially. More than 1,100 employers are saving even more money on their workers’ compensation premiums by participating in the department’s Workplace Safety Program. Last year’s total savings was approximately $7 million. Eligible businesses can earn up to a 19% discount on their insurance by successfully undergoing annual safety inspections and complying with associated recommendations. These savings can help employers better weather the storm of the economic downturn due to COVID-19. Importantly, individual employees may also benefit directly from employer-based safety goals – for example, a workplace may offer bonuses if there are no injuries for a given timeframe and thus pass on the financial savings to their workers.

Businesses eligible for the Workplace Safety Program are notified about the program each year seven months prior to their renewal date, but late applications are being accepted as many businesses were closed when they were notified of their eligibility due to COVID-19. Organizations interested in participating can access questionnaires online and contact safety@delaware.gov to begin the process.

Interested employers are urged to note on their questionnaires their current hours and best point of contact if these have been adjusted due to COVID-19 so inspectors can plan site visits. A physical walkthrough is still required for employers to earn a safety discount. Only benefits can be gained by participating, failure to qualify cannot be the basis for premium increases or sanctions imposed by other safety enforcement officials.

View the DCRB website


Insurance Commissioner Navarro, Lt. Governor Hall-Long to Host Dover COVID Vaccine and Flu Shot Clinic

Local independent pharmacy to administer important immunizations

Insurance Commissioner Trinidad Navarro, in collaboration with Lieutenant Governor Bethany Hall-Long and Kevin Musto, R.Ph., FAPhA, independent pharmacist with Atlantic Apothecary, has announced a COVID Vaccination and Flu Shot Clinic on Thursday, November 18 from 1:00 to 4:00PM at the Delaware Department of Insurance’s Dover Office, 1351 West North Street. Weather permitting, the event will take place outdoors.

“Both the COVID-19 vaccines and the flu shot are safe and effective, and I’m proud to be able to offer them at our Dover office. Each are vital in helping to avoid significant illness, including hospitalization and death, and can be received during the same visit – including at our November 18 event,” said Commissioner Navarro, who will be getting his next dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at the event.Be A Virus Fighter Flyer

All three types of COVID-19 vaccines – Johnson & Johnson, Moderna, and Pfizer – will be available. Pfizer will be provided to eligible residents 5 years and older, Moderna is available for those 12 and older, and Johnson & Johnson for those 18 and older. All levels of vaccination will be offered, including first, second, third and booster doses. Flu shots are available and recommended for those 6 months and older. High-dose flu shots for those 65+ will also be administered at no charge with a Medicare card. Minors must have a guardian’s consent to receive their immunization.

Residents should bring their photo ID or other identification, insurance information or Medicare card, and their prescription or pharmacy card if applicable. Those who have previously received a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine should bring their vaccine card or other documentation if possible. Vaccinations records can be obtained via the DelVAX system. For a faster registration, flu shot recipients can download and complete their Influenza Fluzone form in advance. There is a separate Influenza Fluzone form for those 65+  who wish to receive the high-dose flu vaccine. Participants will be asked to wear a mask and observe social distancing protocols.

Commissioner Navarro also expressed his gratitude to the pharmacists who have been providing these important immunizations throughout the state, saying “This event, and so many others, wouldn’t be possible without local pharmacies and their dedicated staff. We are grateful for their service to our communities.”

For more information about the flu and where to get vaccinated, visit flu.delaware.gov or call 1-800-282-8672. For information about where to get the COVID-19 vaccine, visit coronavirus.delaware.gov/vaccine/where-can-i-get-my-vaccine/ or call 1-833-643-1715.

COVID-19 vaccination eligibility for Johnson and Johnson second dose, third and booster doses of Moderna and Pfizer, and age-based eligibility for vaccination are all subject to change prior to the event. More information on COVID-19 vaccine doses is available through the Delaware Division of Health.

View event flyer or email Christina.Haas@Delaware.gov  for a full-size flyer.

NOTE TO MEDIA: Media availability will be at 3PM. If you plan to attend, please RSVP to Christina.Haas@Delaware.gov.


Delaware to Regulate Multi-Billion-Dollar Pharmacy Benefit Manager Industry, Protecting Consumers and Local Businesses

Department of Insurance will lead effort to rein in monopolistic behavior and excessive pharmaceutical costs

Insurance Commissioner Trinidad Navarro announced today that the Delaware Department of Insurance will begin the process of building and enforcing regulations regarding Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs) as a new law goes into effect. The new authorities of the department will ensure consumer access to affordable medications and protect local pharmacies from the predatory behaviors exhibited by the PBM industry through measures of transparency and corporate accountability.

“Alongside members of the General Assembly, advocates, pharmacy representatives, and industry stakeholders, we have been working towards this goal for years. We have heard the voices of those who have had to travel hundreds of miles for their children’s medications. We have heard the plight of the local pharmacies, the way they have been financially devastated by PBM’s preference of their own chains. We have watched as other states were taken advantage of by these companies and cheered those states on as they took action to stop predatory practices. We have seen partners in this fight retaliated against by these companies, and we mourned as more and more neighborhood pharmacies had to close their doors,” said Insurance Commissioner Trinidad Navarro, referencing the work of the Pharmacy Reimbursement Task Force and other legislative initiatives and discussions. “Now, with these new powers, we say ‘No more.’”

HB 219, sponsored by Rep. Andria Bennett, Sen. Spiros Mantzavinos, Senate President Pro Tempore David Sokola, and Rep. Mike Smith, was passed by the General Assembly unanimously and recently became law, bringing Delaware’s oversight of the multi-billion-dollar industry on par with leading states.

PBMs act as intermediaries for prescription drug plans, influencing what medications will be covered and the costs of those drugs for both consumers and pharmacies. These companies bring in billions through manufacturer rebates, limiting generic drug offerings, and retaining negotiated savings, while costs for consumers continue to rise. The largest PBMs operate their own pharmacy chains, and their consolidated market power has, prior to this law, allowed them to pay unaffiliated pharmacies unsustainably low reimbursement rates – rates lower than it costs the pharmacy to dispense the drug to a consumer. PBMs’ move toward monopolization has contributed to waves of independent pharmacy closures across the nation, especially in rural, inner city, and under-served areas that already crave equity and access.

“I have worked on this issue for years and have seen firsthand how pharmacy benefit managers’ predatory practices have increased consumer costs while decreasing consumer access and driving out small, unaffiliated pharmacies. With healthcare cost emphasized throughout the pandemic, it is more important than ever to have these protections in place,” said Rep. Andria Bennett, the prime sponsor of HB 219 and chair of the Pharmacy Reimbursement Task Force. “This new law passed the General Assembly unanimously, and it did so because there are two things we all agree on: that the cost of prescription drugs is far too high, and that billionaire corporations should not be above the law.”

The new law aims to solve many issues of access and inequal treatment through use of the National Average Drug Acquisition Cost for pharmacy reimbursement, prohibiting inequal payments to unaffiliated pharmacies, and providing the Department of Insurance the ability to investigate PBMs, enforce consumer protection measures, and incentivize corrections through increased regulatory authority. In order to better understand PBM’s existing processes, the department recently began introductory Market Conduct exams on registered PBMs, known to be the first investigations of this kind in the nation. These initial examinations will not result in fines or enforcement actions, but will highlight areas for improvement, including those that are not compliant with the new law, and will require corrective action plans.

Rep. Mike Smith – a prime sponsor of HB 219 – stated, “This is an exciting moment for Delaware. This was a collaborative effort to support Delaware’s small, independent pharmacies and all Delawareans. At the end of the day, consumer protection won, and I’m proud of the work we did to bring accountability to PBMs.”

“Reducing prescription drug prices will directly improve the health and welfare of our neighbors,” said Sen. Spiros Mantzavinos, Senate prime sponsor of HB 219. “This new law will provide for greater oversight of the pharmacy benefit manager industry, allowing for more consistent prescription drug prices and ensuring expanded access to the medications Delawareans rely on. I am proud to have helped champion HB 219 alongside Rep. Bennett and look forward to Delawareans reaping the benefits of this expanded oversight.”

While independent pharmacies faced retaliation from the multi-billion-dollar giants, including through costly audits, they continued to advocate for change. Now, they are celebrating the new law and the protections it holds for their customers.

“The true beneficiaries of this new PBM oversight will be the patients. They have always deserved health care that is accessible, affordable and transparent – not barriers to care, higher costs and excuses while PBMs lined their pockets. Having the Delaware Insurance Commissioner’s office oversee PBMs will greatly assist underserved and vulnerable populations who struggle to afford their medications, and who have experienced barriers to patient care,” explained Kevin Musto, R.Ph., FAPhA, an independent pharmacist.

The Delaware Pharmacy Society also shared their enthusiasm for the new law. “We are tremendously delighted with enactment of HB 219, which increases transparency and equity in pharmacy benefit management. It is our belief that this law will result in increased access to health benefits for Delawareans, provided at the most accessible health care providers – pharmacies. This law makes Delaware a pioneer in controlling health care costs,” they stated.

In the coming months, the Department of Insurance will draft relevant regulations, receiving input from stakeholders during that process. After draft regulations are developed, they will be published, and the public will have 30 days to comment.