The insurance industry in Washington continues its fight against the insurance commissioner’s regulations banning credit scoring by insurers. Insurer and agent associations stepped up as plaintiffs to stop the insurance department’s rule to prohibit credit scoring as a factor in underwriting and rating.
In mid-February, the American Property Casualty Insurance Association (APCIA) along with co-petitioners the Professional Insurance Agents of Washington (PIA), and the Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of Washington (IIABW) initially filed a separate petition from that filed by the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies (NAMIC). Both were challenges to Commissioner Mike Kreidler’s permanent rule that would ban the use of credit history for at least three years. The court consolidated the cases and issued a stay on the permanent rule until the merits of the case are decided.
In a joint statement, the trade associations said, “Commissioner Mike Kreidler’s permanent rule is raising rates for over a million Washington consumers. We are pleased the court consolidated the legal challenges, transferred the separately filed petitions to a single court, and approved an immediate stay on the permanent rule. We look forward to explaining our legal arguments against this onerous and unnecessary rule that is ignoring risk-based pricing and raising premiums for lower risk Washington consumers.”
On Feb. 14, APCIA, PIA, and IIABW filed a petition with Thurston County Superior Court Judge Sue Wilson, the same judge that invalidated the predecessor emergency rule in October 2021. NAMIC’s petition was filed with Judge Indu Thomas. The cases were consolidated in Thomas’ court.
A consolidated hearing took place before Thomas on Feb. 25.when Thomas stayed the permanent rule effective immediately. The permanent rule, which would have become effective on March 4, will remain stayed until the court reaches a final decision on the merits.
APCIA said that it does not expect any order setting the schedule for briefing and arguing the merits until the Washington State insurance commissioner produces the agency record compiled in support of the permanent rule that is the subject of the stay.
“While we are all appropriately focused on ensuring that Louisianans are well on their way to financial and emotional recovery after the devastating storms of 2020 and 2021, APCIA is concerned that some actions taken by policymakers could inadvertently lead to unintended consequences that could jeopardize Louisiana’s insurance markets for years or decades to come,” Alexander said.
Louisiana consumers will be hurt if they cannot access the insurance products they need as a result of actions taken in the coming months.