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President Biden Criticizes Home and Auto Insurance Pricing

During a recent town hall, the president took aim at home and auto insurance pricing disparities for Black and Latino consumers.
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president biden criticizes home and auto insurance pricing

Last week, during a CNN town hall, President Biden gave a lengthy response to an audience question about policing practices. Toward the end of his remarks, President Biden mentioned disparities in insurance pricing for home and auto insurance.

Specifically, President Biden noted, “I don't know what home you live in, but if you go ahead and you want to get insurance, and you're in a Black neighborhood, you're going to pay more for the same insurance than I'm going to pay for the exact same home."

“You never had an accident in your car. If you live in a Black neighborhood, you're going to pay a higher premium on your car—you're going to," he said. “There's so many things that are built in institutionally that disadvantage African Americans and Latinos."

And in related news this week, Reps. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-New Jersey), Rashida Tlaib (D-Michigan) and Mark Takano (D-California) reintroduced H.R. 1270, the “Prohibit Auto Insurance Discrimination (PAID) Act." This legislation would prohibit automobile insurance companies from using education, occupation, employment status, credit scores, previous insurer information, zip codes, census tracts, or home ownership status in insurance rating or underwriting decisions and give the Federal Trade Commission regulatory authority over some aspects of insurance underwriting.

In March 2020, the U.S. House Financial Services Subcommittee on Housing, Community Development and Insurance held a hearing entitled, “Drivers of Discrimination: An Examination of Unfair Premiums, Practices and Policies in the Auto Insurance Industry." The purpose of the hearing was to examine if various underwriting factors are discriminatory and disproportionately target lower-income and minority consumers.

For decades, the Big “I" has been a leading supporter of state insurance regulation and the association strongly opposes any form of federal insurance regulation. Consistent with the association's long-held support for state-based regulation of insurance, the Big “I" continues to oppose the PAID Act on the basis that it would preempt state insurance law and interfere with states' ability to exercise control over their respective insurance markets. 

President Biden's recent remarks will undoubtedly draw more attention to congressional efforts, such as the PAID Act, and will embolden its supporters and would-be supporters. 

Wyatt Stewart is Big “I" assistant vice president of federal government affairs.

Thursday, February 25, 2021
On the Hill