News I Guess It’s Really, Really, Really Damning.
Safeco is trying to block the release of data from a 2003 study by the state insurance commissioner (the OIC). The study focused on the controversial practice of credit scoring—where insurers raise rates and even drop customers based on credit history, rather than looking at germane things like good driving records.
The Democrats requested the data. They believe it will show that GOP U.S. Senate candidate Mike McGavick—the CEO of SAFECO during the years the insurance commission study examines—was a serial credit scorer who dropped poor people and minorities from coverage even though the SAFECO customers had clean driving records, for example.
The Attorney General’s Office (under Republican AG Rob McKenna) defended the Democrats’ right to the data.
I went down to Olympia last week to watch the hearing in front of Thurston County Superior Court Judge Richard A. Strophy.
Safeco’s stentorian attorney, Jerry Kindinger, used a set of clumsy visual aids to argue that the study fell outside the purview of the public disclosure act. But it looks like the OIC’s lawyer, the Attorney General’s lawyer, and the Democrats’ lawyer—who rightly belittled SAFECO’s contenton that a public study of a regulated industry should be shielded from the public—persuaded the judge that SAFECO doesn’t have a case.
Judge Strophy took a week to review the data to determine if—as SAFECO’s stentorian attorney had argued—the data was proprietary. He came back today to say it was not.
However, Safeco’s lawyers asked for an emergency 7-day stay of the decision. Soooo, the data is still under lock and key.
What’s Open Mike hiding?