States Trying to Implement New Auto Insurance Regulations

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    For some time now, there has been considerable attention paid at the state level to ways in which lawmakers can better regulate rising costs for home and auto insurance. One issue that has been brought up often in the case of the latter type of coverage is that consumers may be penalized for things apart from their driving records, and consumer advocates and legislators alike worry about the impact on those who are already economically disadvantaged. This is certainly something that auto insurance agents will have to monitor closely in the coming months, depending upon the states in which they already operate.

    One of these issues that has been cropping up more often in recent months is related to how the cost of auto insurance may be impacted by a person’s credit score, according to a report from Stateline. Studies have repeatedly shown that those with low credit scores and a clean driving record will often pay far more for their plans than those who have good credit but spotty or even downright awful histories behind the wheel (including convictions for drunk driving).

    What’s being done?
    This is obviously something that many lawmakers and consumer advocates are going to see as a problem, and some across the country are now moving to take that option away from auto insurers when it comes to setting prices, the report said. Right now, only three states have such rules in place to prevent insurers from using credit information to set auto premiums, but as many as 12 more have already seen similar legislation introduced – but not yet passed or enacted – in 2015 alone.

    Consumers dismayed by rising auto insurance costs may soon get relief.Consumers dismayed by rising auto insurance costs may soon get relief.

    Other issues being tackled
    Likewise, states are now setting their sights on ending the practice of “price optimization” as well, the report said. This allows insurers to charge more to people who have had their policies for a long time, simply because their internal numbers show those people have a certain amount of inertia that will prevent them from shopping around for more affordable coverage even as prices rise irrespective of their driving records.

    “The insurance companies charge the most to the people who can afford it the least,” Doug Heller, a consultant to the Consumer Federation of America, told the site. “That’s because auto insurance companies place such a large emphasis on their customers’ occupation, level of education, credit history and other factors related to wealth, rather than driving safety.”

    The more insurance agents can do to help their clients gain more information about what their policies do and do not cover, and why they pay what they do for it, the better off both are likely to be. While consumers aren’t typically going to be happy with rising rates, efforts to ensure they understand their plans are often going to lead to them feeling better about the whole situation. Indeed, a strong working relationship between clients and insurers or agents has often been shown to lead to higher rates of customer satisfaction and, by extension, client retention.