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Friday, September 15, 2006

I Guess It’s Really, Really, Really Damning.

Posted by on September 15 at 15:44 PM

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?

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How many insured people did he drop for having a DUI during his tenure as CEO?

And how many people like him, who hid their DUIs, were able to get insurance because they had "good credit scores"?

I'm betting it's at least ONE.

“…where insurers raise rates and even drop customers based on credit history, rather than looking at germane things like good driving records.”

To represent this as a statement of fact (the later half for it) is bullshit. You should at least modify the statement to “more germane” because believe it or not, credit history is germane. There is an actual correlation between credit history and risk.

Same is true with age and sex.

Once again, you beat me to the punch, YGBKM. The OIC simply will not allow the insurance industry to rate for anything which is not germane to loss ratio. The other thing is that the insurance industry doesn't want to rate for anything that's not an accurate predictor of losses. There's no profit in it.

I think drunk driving is an accurate predictor of losses.

will. I agree. Lots of things are acurate predictors of loss.

(drunk) driving record
credit history
home address
crimminal record
to name a few

The more of these used to prevent loss and increase profit for insurers, the more affordable the rates that can be made available to lower risk drivers. Why shouldn't high risk drivers pay more, or be dropped, to the benfit of low risk drivers?

oh... wait... Will, this isn't about the use of the credit scores by Seafeco is it, it's about smearing a politician that you don't like on personal behavior instead of policy stances. Isn't it?

Will, a DUI won't necessarily get you canceled, but it will jack your rates up quite a bit.

YGBKM, it's illegal to use race as a rating factor.

I know, but it shouldn't be (to the extent, and only to the extent that an actual correlation between race and risk can be showen in actuarial tables.)

Wow. YGBKM appears to be saying that if insurance companies can demonstrate that, say, black people are involved in (even slightly) more accidents than white people, it should be legal for them to discriminate against blacks by refusing them insurance coverage. I'll say it again: wow.

The numbers of car accidents is inversely porportional to the number of pirates.

Therefore, pirates should receive a discount on their car insurance and members of the Royal Navy should have their rates raised.

Whiny little bitches are more likely to file for claims while rich people are more likely to just pay it themselves than have a mark on their records.

Therefore, we should raise the rates of whiney little bitches and lower them for rich people.

This is fun!

Yeah. Rates will go down if the corporations are allowed to discriminate. Whatever.

Jesus, what kind of naive twit do you have to be to be a "conservative"? They all seem to have such a simple-minded, childlike (and not in a good way) worldview.

You'd think that after being taken for rides, over and over and over again, by their idols, they'd figure it out. No wonder spam continues to be a problem, and most of it is sexual or money-making scams. It's all stupid conservatives ordering that shit.

What is the problem here? The system is working.

Safeco, and all other auto insurance carriers, found that there is a statistical relationship between credit scores and risk.

The OIC realized the statistical validity in this relationship, but also found that use of this criteria could be unfair to some individuals. So, the OIC did their job, regulated the industry and restricted the use of credit scoring for non-renewal of policies.

At the same time, congrats to the Democrats for figuring out how to play dirty pool and use GOP media manipulation tactics against them. When these records do eventually get released, there will be similar practices at, at the very least, 2 other insurance companies revealed (everyone suspects Safeco of being “Firm #3”, right?). No one cares about Safeco, specifically, except to expose some sort of wrong-doing (read - competent management) by McG. For this, I applaud the Democrats. If Cantwell had ties to this, the GOP would be all over it... Finally, the Democrats are catching up to their rivals and figuring out how to deliver a shot to the berries without getting juice on their candidate's foot.

Sandeep: I would go even further than YGBKM; insurers should be allowed to use race (or any other characteristic) as a factor, whether or not they can demonstrate to some judge or government statistician that race is correlated with accident rates. If they wrongly use race as a factor, they will loose money.

Interestingly, insurance companies do use sex as a factor: women get lower rates, because they have fewer accidents than men. Amazingly, no liberals are whining about this sex descrimination. Would it be okay to use race as a factor if blacks had a lower accident rate than whites? What is the difference between sex-based descrimination and race-based descrimination?

Hi! I'm a conservative! I don't really know what that means, but I'm all for anything that doesn't mean change, because change is scary!!!

Big companies are great! I'd let them pee on me if they had bladders - that's how much I like them.

Government is never the answer to anything, and has never been anything. That's what Ronald Reagan said, and he's right up there with Jesus Christ. He worked for GE and was able to dodge the draft, so that proves he's smart.

I hate paying taxes because that's MY money. it just goes for welfare trash to get abortions.

Boy, I wish corporations had bladders, 'cause I'd really like it if they would pee on me.

I support loose money.

Fnarf: Thanks for editing in good humor. s/loose/lose.

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