Two More States Pass NCOIL Credit Model

By Caroline McDonald

NU Online News Service, April 17, 1:15 p.m. EDT?Nebraska and Oklahoma have recently passed measures regulating insurers’ credit-based risk ratings, joining a list of states that have passed such laws.

The Nebraska and Oklahoma measures were based on a model created by the National Conference of Insurance Legislators.

Prior to legislative passage, governors in the two states indicated they would sign the measures, according to the National Association of Independent Insurers in Des Plaines, Ill.

NAII said it views the NCOIL model act as a “positive” compromise addressing the concerns of agents and insurers.

Among its key provisions, the NCOIL model requires insurers to notify applicants that credit information will be used in underwriting and rating, and to notify customers of primary factors that result in adverse actions.

Other language in the measure prohibits use of credit information as the sole basis for denying, canceling or non-renewing policies or raising rates.

Insurers must file their scoring models with the states’ insurance departments, which are required to treat them as privileged trade secret material.

For more details of the NCOIL model, see Monday’s print edition of National Underwriter.

NAII said that, before it lobbied for an amendment, the bill approved in Nebraska, LB 487, had not contained the NCOIL language providing trade secret status for scoring models.

“By maintaining the information as a trade secret, the department can protect consumers as well as insurers’ interests in a competitive market,” said Ann Weber, counsel for NAII.

Nebraska and Oklahoma join North Dakota, Kansas, Colorado, Wyoming and Virginia in passing legislation on credit-based insurance scores this year. Earlier this month, North Dakota adopted the NCOIL model and legislation following much of the NCOIL model passed in Kansas as well.

The legislation passed in Virginia contains much more detailed requirements than the NCOIL model, including language banning use of certain types of credit information to calculate a score, said Joseph Annotti, NAII vice president.

Some of the prohibitions listed in the Virginia bill are:

? Use of medical industry coded information.

? Use of more than one home mortgage industry inquiry made within a 30-day period.

? Use of more than one automobile lending inquiry made within a 30-day period.

? Use of insurance credit scores based on income, gender, address, zip code, ethnic group, race, color, religion, marital status or nationality of the consumer.

? Use of total available line of credit, unless the insurer considers the total amount of outstanding debt in relation to the total available line of credit.

So far this year, 38 states have considered legislation to regulate the use of credit-based insurance scores, according to NAII.

The group said credit scoring bills introduced in Connecticut, Kentucky, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Utah and West Virginia have been unsuccessful, and in Arizona, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Montana and Nevada only one house of the legislature has voted approval.