News Article
Ending Unfair and Discriminatory Pricing in California’s Auto Insurance Market













Problem

Californians from marginalized identities and lower socio-economic communities are unfairly discriminated against in the auto insurance market. Why? Because their rates are determined by factors such as neighborhood crime rates, income level, marital status, and how long they’ve had car insurance in the U.S.

The result? A nationwide study by the Consumer Federation of America found that predominantly African-American neighborhoods pay 70 percent more, on average, for premiums than other areas do.  And a follow-up study by Pro Publica and Consumer Reports found that “many of the disparities in auto insurance prices between minority and white neighborhoods are wider than differences in risk can explain.” Safe drivers pay more than they should—especially Immigrants, people of color, LGBTQ+ people, and other vulnerable populations.

Solution

Treat all Californians fairly and equally while encouraging safer driving practices by modernizing California regulations so that drivers have the option to use their own driving behavior as the basis for their insurance rates.

In 49 other states, drivers have the option to use driving behavior (or “telematics”) to determine their monthly premium. By using a mobile app, “dongle”, or other technology, drivers can choose to enroll in a program that measures their vehicle speed, distracted driving, and other on-the-road factors. These factors are then used to determine the driver’s actual risk profile more fairly and accurately, free of high dependence on inherently discriminatory factors. The result for safe drivers is a lower, more fairly determined insurance premium.

Unfortunately, using telematics technology to assess driver behavior and determine a more fair insurance premium rate is currently against the law in California due to Proposition 103 – a 1988 law that failed to consider notoriously discriminatory pricing factors.

How you can Help

Streets Are For Everyone (SAFE), a California-based street safety non-profit that aims to improve the quality of life for pedestrians, bicyclists, and drivers alike by reducing traffic caused fatalities has teamed up with the California African American Chamber of Commerce, Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, LA Latino Chamber of Commerce, National Asian American Coalition, the National Diversity Coalition, and Root Insurance, to draft a memo calling for Proposition 103 to be modernized to allow consumers more choice in how insurers assess their risk.

We are asking like-minded stakeholders to join us on a task force that will provide specific recommendations on how to best modernize Prop 103 using technology and information on driver behavior without violating the right to information privacy.

The task force will meet 2-3 times early in 2022 to discuss the various ways telematics has been implemented in other states – both good and bad. Those discussions will be used to create a memo, signed by each member of the task force, lending their organization’s name to support regulatory changes that will incentivize safer driving habits in our communities, allow for lower premiums not based primarily on one’s zip code and other discriminatory factors and protect the privacy of our community.

Why a Coalition Task Force?

By submitting a memo of support as a diverse but united group of advocates, activists, organizations, businesses, and community leaders from across the state of California, we can demonstrate that the issue of telematics is an issue of statewide concern while stating unequivocally that we will only support the modernization of Proposition 103, if it is done correctly, and provide guidance on how that should look. By drafting policy proposals that are supported by such a diverse coalition, we also hope that additional businesses and organizations will be more likely to sign on to the memo and expand our unified voices.

Next Steps

Learn more by attending SAFE’s webinar on telematics and the intersections of street safety, equity, and insurance policy on December 16, 2021 from 11am-12:30pm. At the end of the webinar, you’ll have the opportunity to ask questions of our experts and sign up to join the task force. The task force will meet 2 to 3 times in early 2022 with the goal of sending a final memo, signed by all task force members, by February 25, 2021. Task force members will be offered a small but meaningful stipend for their time which should on be 3-4 hours in total.

To find out more or to register for the webinar, please contact

   
Author: Dayna