State Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler created an emergency rule that, as Dori describes it, makes people with bad credit pay less and people with good credit pay more.
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Democratic Senator Mark Mullet has joined KIRO Radio’s Dori Monson show to explain why he says – as he wrote in an op-ed for the Seattle Times – that your bonuses shouldn’t go up unnecessarily.
“Before insurance rates in Washington, if you filed very few claims, you got the biggest discounts,” Mullet explained. “And the people in our state who have filed the fewest claims tend to be seniors. They drive better, file fewer home insurance claims, and have been the biggest recipients of credit-based insurance discounts in Washington state.
Mike Kreidler, because his bill could not be passed by the Legislature, he just decided to create an emergency and say, ‘I’m going to use my powers to ban credit score rebates.’ “Mullet said.
Mullet chairs the Business Financial Services Committee, which held a public hearing this week.
“We have been overwhelmed by the testimonies of seniors in Washington who, as you said, have fixed incomes, they haven’t filed a claim for decades, and now they have to pay hundreds, if not thousands. more dollars for their insurance, so people who file a lot of claims can pay less, ”Mullet said.
The Insurance Commissioner’s policy is “revenue neutral,” Mullet explained, so every dollar someone pays more is “so someone who files more claims can pay less.” People who file more claims see discounts, while people who file fewer claims see increases.
As to whether Kriedler has the power to create this policy, Mullet says that is in dispute.
“We are fighting it in court. There will be a hearing next month to determine if he has the legal capacity to do what he has done, ”Mullet said. “And I hope we win the court ruling.”
“I think that the interest of the public hearing [Tuesday] was to ensure, just in case we do not win in court, that lawmakers must take action to overturn this [Kreidler] did so because it is simply unfair for the state’s elderly population to see their rates increase by that amount, just to subsidize the riskiest policyholders, ”he added.
One example is a couple from Kirkland who have lived in the same house since 1984. They haven’t filed a single insurance claim in that time, but their combined home and auto insurance rates have increased by $ 600. The husband testified at the public hearing and was one of many who saw their rate increase. Mullet believes there was one person who testified at the hearing whose rates went down.
This policy, Mullet points out, impacts all seniors, regardless of race or other demographics.
“It’s everyone who is a senior in the state,” he said. “All of these buckets have been negatively affected because of the commissioner’s actions.”
Mullet says he personally invited Kreidler to the public hearing, but did not show up.
“What we learned from yesterday’s hearing is that over two million Washington residents are seeing their insurance premiums go up. It’s in the hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars. We’re talking about $ 500 million or $ 600 million that people have to pay more so that someone else can pay less, “Mullet said. “And the commissioner wouldn’t come to the hearing to at least defend what he did.”
When people get those raises, Mullet encourages them to reach out and tell them not to buy what he calls “cliché responses” that insurance companies all make more money.
“The reality is that he forced them to lower premiums to compensate for any increases,” he said of Kreidler. “So he just forced the costs to shift across Washington state. Insurance companies are getting exactly the same amount of money as before. It’s just now that people who file more claims can pay less, and people who are more secure have to pay more.
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Looking to the future, Mullet believes there is a way to find a better solution, if the judge who hears the case next month doesn’t deny him first.
“My big disagreement with the Insurance Commissioner is that it should not be a zero-sum game,” he said. “You can find ways to protect people with bad credit. You can find ways to improve credit. There are a lot of things I think we could do to increase the credit scores of people with bad credit.
“But the last thing we should do, especially since the elderly are the biggest beneficiaries of credit score rebates, is remove credit score rebates,” he added.
Listen to the Dori Monson Show weekday afternoons from noon to 3 p.m. on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to podcast here.