Maine Bill for ‘Full Disclosure’ of Credit Use in Pricing Fails

A Maine bill seeking to shed light on how insurers use credit in their insurance-scoring models stalled in a committee last week, with regulators and insurers saying that current regulations already require such disclosures when those models make coverage more expensive.

Maine has seen problems with premiums that are priced based on erroneous credit histories, according to Rep. Paulette Beaudoin (D-Biddeford), who authored LD 70, which would have required “full disclosure” of credit-based scoring whenever an insurer uses it.

Maine auto insurers should make consumers fully aware of how their credit plays into a final insurance price tag, according to Beaudoin, especially considering that errors are so common.

Beaudoin said that an insurer in her district told her that the premiums of “several clients” had been based on incorrect credit scores and that those consumers should have the right to make insurers “disclose the impact that the consumer’s credit score has on ratings and coverage.”

Committee members ultimately recommended last week that the proposal not be passed.

Regulators testified to the committee that state law does require that insurers notify consumers of “adverse action based on credit information” with a “sufficiently clear and specific” explanation.

In addition, representatives from auto insurer Progressive said that the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act imposes the same requirements and that insurers provide resources for free credit reports to those requesting them.

Errors in credit reports are common, according to a recent report from the Federal Trade Commission, which found that 1 out of every 4 American consumers have “errors on their credit reports that might affect their credit scores.”

As Progressive noted in its testimony, though, credit-based insurance scores aren’t actually interchangeable with a person’s credit score, although they are largely based on the same types of information.

Credit-based insurance scores have also recently been topics of debate among lawmakers in Rhode Island, Texas, Nebraska and Alaska.

About Charles Nguyen
Charles Nguyen is an enterprising journalist who reported for Patch.com and the Desert Dispatch and was the editor in chief of the Guardian (the twice-weekly newspaper at the University of California, San Diego) before coming to Online Auto Insurance News.

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