Dear friends and neighbors:
As you probably know, from the get-go I have opposed the efforts of the state insurance commissioner to block the use of credit scores in setting insurance rates. The use of credit scores is a sound and proven means of setting premiums based on consumer track records, and I found it wildly unfair that folks with solid credit histories would suddenly see their insurance rates rise for no good reason.
So I was relieved—as I am sure many of you will be too—to learn that Thurston County Superior Court Judge Indu Thomas this morning invalidated the insurance commissioner’s ban on the use of credit scores in setting insurance rates. As the commissioner himself acknowledged on his agency’s website, his unilateral actions went beyond the agency’s authority. The use of credit scores was established years ago by the Legislature to ensure that people’s insurance rates reflect the quality of their credit histories.
I still hope to provide relief to people who are paying unreasonably high premiums, but that’s something we can and should be able to do without penalizing others. That was the goal of my proposed solution this past session, and I plan to revive that effort when the Legislature reconvenes in January.
In light of this ruling, along with his public acknowledgement that his actions exceeded his authority, I am hopeful next session that the insurance commissioner will abandon his opposition to my solution. We have a clear path to strike a fair balance between the interests of everyone affected, and to provide transparent credit relief to Washingtonians that is wide-ranging and effective without punishing people who have rightly earned low insurance rates.
Take care and stay safe,