by Julia Angwin
Originally published: May 19, 2017
The California Department of Insurance has launched an investigation into whether eight auto insurers in the state discriminate against drivers in minority neighborhoods.
The investigation was prompted by an April 5 article, co-published by ProPublica and Consumer Reports, which found that the eight California insurers were charging more for auto premiums in minority neighborhoods, on average, than in non-minority areas with similar accident costs. California law prohibits insurers from charging rates that are excessive or unfairly discriminatory.
“We have taken these pricing allegations very seriously,” deputy commissioner Ken Allen wrote on April 28 to an attorney at Consumers Union, the policy and mobilization arm of Consumer Reports. “To investigate this contention, all necessary information to complete a thorough analysis on a file-by-file basis has already been or will be obtained from the eight insurers. The Department’s analysis will determine if there are inequities with respect to the pricing and treatment of any ZIP codes by these insurers.”