Connecticut Seal

General Assembly

 

Committee Bill No. 6161

January Session, 2015

 

LCO No. 4195

 

*04195HB06161INS*

Referred to Committee on INSURANCE AND REAL ESTATE

 

Introduced by:

 

(INS)

 

AN ACT PROHIBITING INSURANCE COMPANIES FROM USING CREDIT HISTORY AS A FACTOR IN UNDERWRITING OR RATING PRIVATE PASSENGER NONFLEET AUTOMOBILE INSURANCE POLICIES.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. Subdivisions (4) to (6), inclusive, of subsection (b) of section 38a-686 of the general statutes are repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2015):

(4) (A) Each rating plan for private passenger nonfleet automobile insurance that includes territorial classifications shall assign a weight of seventy-five per cent to individual territorial loss cost indication and twenty-five per cent to the state-wide average loss cost indication.

(B) An insurer shall not use an applicant's or insured's credit history as a factor in underwriting or rating private passenger nonfleet automobile insurance.

(5) Each rating plan shall establish appropriate eligibility criteria for determining significant risks that are to qualify under the plan. Rating plans that comply with the provisions of this subdivision shall be deemed to produce rates that are not unfairly discriminatory.

(6) With respect to personal risk insurance other than private passenger nonfleet automobile insurance, an insurer shall not use an applicant's or insured's credit history as a factor in underwriting or rating except in accordance with this subdivision. For the purposes of this section, "credit history" means any credit-related information derived from or found in a credit report or credit scoring program or provided in an application for personal risk insurance, and "financial history measurement program" means a program that uses an applicant's credit history to measure such applicant's risk of loss.

(A) An insurer shall file with the commissioner any financial history measurement program it uses to underwrite or rate risks for personal risk insurance. Such filing shall (i) include a description of the program, (ii) identify the characteristics used in such program from which a measurement is derived, (iii) include the rules and procedures of such program, and (iv) include an explanation of the impact of credit information and items of public record on insurance rates over time. Such program shall not unfairly discriminate among applicants or produce rates that are excessive for the risk assumed. Any filing made pursuant to this subparagraph shall be considered a trade secret for the purposes of section 1-210.

(B) (i) An insurer that uses a financial history measurement program shall submit to the commissioner documentation that demonstrates the correlation between such program and the expected risk of loss, and how such program impacts consumers (I) in urban territories, versus consumers in nonurban territories, and (II) based on consumers' ages. The commissioner may request the insurer to provide a financial history measurement for a set of test examples that reflect various characteristics.

(ii) An insurer that uses a financial history measurement program shall disclose to each applicant for personal risk insurance, in writing, by telephone, by electronic mail or orally, at the time of application that the applicant's credit history may be used in the underwriting or rating of such applicant's policy, and that the applicant has the right to request, in writing, that the insurer consider, during its underwriting or rating process or during a review requested by such applicant of a rate quote, an extraordinary life circumstance, as set forth in subparagraph (D) of this subdivision, if such applicant's credit history has been adversely impacted by such extraordinary life circumstance and such extraordinary life circumstance occurred within three years before the date of the application. In addition, such insurer shall provide to each purchaser of such policy, not later than the date of issuance of such policy, a written disclosure that includes: (I) The name, address, telephone number and toll-free telephone number, if applicable, of the insurer; (II) detailed information about how the insurer uses credit information to underwrite or rate such policies; and (III) a summary of consumer protections regarding the use of credit, in a form determined by the commissioner. Such written disclosure shall be printed in reasonably conspicuous type and be provided by the insurer electronically, by mail or by hand delivery.

(C) (i) An insurer may use a financial history measurement program to underwrite or rate risks only (I) for new personal risk insurance policies, or (II) upon renewal, either at the request of an insured or if such use reduces the premium for the insured in accordance with the insurer's filed rates and rules.

(ii) An insurer shall not use the following characteristics in a financial history measurement program: (I) The number of credit inquiries in an applicant's or insured's credit report or credit history; (II) the applicant's or insured's use of a particular type of credit card, debit card or charge card; (III) the applicant's or insured's total available line of credit; (IV) any disputed credit information while such dispute is under review by a credit reporting company, provided such information is identified in an applicant's or insured's credit report or credit history as being in dispute; (V) collection accounts identified with a medical industry code in the applicant's or insured's credit report or credit history; and (VI) the applicant's or insured's lack of credit history, unless the insurer treats the applicant or insured as if such applicant or insured had neutral credit information, as defined by the insurer.

(iii) A financial history measurement program shall give the same weight to an applicant's or insured's purchase or financing of a specific item regardless of the type of item purchased or financed.

(D) (i) Upon written request by an applicant, an insurer shall consider, during its underwriting or rating process or during a review requested by such applicant of a rate quote, an extraordinary life circumstance of such applicant if such extraordinary life circumstance occurred within three years before the date of application. If such insurer determines that such applicant's credit history has been adversely impacted by such extraordinary life circumstance, such insurer shall grant a reasonable exception to such insurer's rates, rating classifications or underwriting rules for such applicant. As used in this subparagraph, "extraordinary life circumstance" means (I) a catastrophic illness or injury, (II) divorce, (III) the death of a spouse, child or parent, (IV) the involuntary loss of employment for more than three consecutive months, (V) identity theft, (VI) total or other loss that makes a home uninhabitable, (VII) other circumstances as may be adopted in regulations by the commissioner, in accordance with chapter 54, or (VIII) any other circumstance an insurer may choose to recognize.

(ii) An insurer may require the applicant to provide reasonable, independently verifiable written documentation of the extraordinary life circumstance and the effect of such extraordinary life circumstance on such applicant's credit report or credit history. Any such documentation shall be kept confidential by the insurer.

(iii) If the insurer grants an exception pursuant to subparagraph (D)(i) of this subdivision, the insurer shall (I) consider only credit information that is not affected by the extraordinary life circumstance, or (II) treat the applicant as if such applicant had neutral or better than neutral credit information, as defined by the insurer.

(iv) An insurer shall not be deemed to be out of compliance with any provision of the general statutes or regulations adopted thereunder concerning underwriting, rating or rate filing solely on the basis of the granting of an exception pursuant to this subparagraph.

(E) (i) If an insurer takes an adverse action that is due at least in part to the information contained in an applicant's or insured's credit report, such insurer shall disclose to such applicant or insured: (I) That such adverse action was based on the credit report of such insured or applicant; (II) that such applicant or insured is entitled to a free copy of such credit report and where such report can be obtained; (III) the types of extraordinary life circumstances set forth in subparagraph (D) of this subdivision; and (IV) the procedures for an applicant to inform the insurer of an extraordinary life circumstance and to submit any required documentation pursuant to subparagraph (D) of this subdivision.

(ii) For the purposes of this subdivision, an "adverse action" means (I) the denial of coverage to an applicant or insured or the offering of restricted coverage, (II) the offering of a higher rate, (III) the assignment of an applicant or insured to a higher rate tier or to a higher-priced company within an insurer group, or (IV) any other action that adversely impacts an applicant or insured due to the financial history measurement program.

(F) After an insurer's financial history measurement program has been in effect for two years, the commissioner may require such insurer to submit a report to the commissioner on the use of such program in the state. Such report shall include information that demonstrates that such program results in rates that are supported by the data and that are not unfairly discriminatory, and an analysis of consumer complaints submitted in writing or by electronic mail to the insurer resulting from such insurer's use of a financial history measurement program, such that is sufficient to identify the basis for the complaints and any subsequent insurer action.

This act shall take effect as follows and shall amend the following sections:

Section 1

October 1, 2015

38a-686(b)(4) to (6)

Statement of Purpose:

To prohibit insurance companies from using an applicant's or insured's credit history as a factor in underwriting or rating private passenger nonfleet automobile insurance policies.

[Proposed deletions are enclosed in brackets. Proposed additions are indicated by underline, except that when the entire text of a bill or resolution or a section of a bill or resolution is new, it is not underlined.]

Co-Sponsors:

REP. ZONI, 81st Dist.

H.B. 6161