DORI MONSON

State Senator disagrees with making insurance rates a ‘zero sum game’

Sep 23, 2021, 8:55 AM | Updated: 8:56 am
Washington State Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta...
Washington State Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta

State Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler created an emergency rule that essentially, as Dori describes, makes it so people with bad credit pay less and people with good credit pay more.

Two Washington Senators call for insurance commissioner’s resignation

Democrat Senator Mark Mullet 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 premiums should not go up needlessly.

“Insurance rates in Washington before, if you filed very few claims, you got the biggest discounts,” Mullet explained. “And the people in our state who filed the fewest claims tend to be senior citizens. They’re better at driving, they file fewer homeowner insurance claims, and they were the biggest beneficiaries of credit-based insurance discounts in the state of Washington.”

“Mike Kreidler, because his bill couldn’t pass the Legislature, he just decided to make up an emergency and say, ‘I’m going to use my powers to ban credit score discounts,'” Mullet said.

Mullet chairs the Business Financial Services Committee, which held a public hearing this week.

“We were overwhelmed with testimony from senior citizens in Washington who are, like you said, on fixed incomes, they haven’t filed claims in decades, and now they’re having to pay hundreds if not thousands of dollars more for their insurance, so people who do 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 extra is “so somebody who files more claims can pay less.” People who file more claims are seeing discounts, while people who file fewer claims are seeing increases.

As to whether or not Kriedler has the power to create this policy, Mullet says that’s being challenged.

“We are fighting him in court. There’ll be a court hearing next month whether he has the legal ability to do what he did,” Mullet said. “And so hopefully we win the court decision.”

“I think the point of the public hearing [Tuesday] was to make sure, just in case we don’t win in court, that the legislature needs to take action to undo what [Kreidler] did because it’s just unfair to the senior citizen population of the state to have their rates go up by this amount, just to subsidize riskier policyholders,” he added.

One example is a Kirkland couple who has been in the same house since 1984. They have not filed one insurance claim in that entire time, but their combined auto and home insurance rates went up $600. The husband testified at the public hearing, and was one of many who had their rate increase. Mullet believes there was one person who testified at the hearing whose rates went down.

This policy, Mullet points out, is impacting all senior citizens, regardless of race or other demographics.

“It’s everyone who is a senior citizen in the state,” he said. “All those buckets have been negatively impacted because of the commissioner’s actions.”

Mullet says he personally invited Kreidler to the public hearing, but he did not show up.

“What we learned in the hearing yesterday is over two million Washington residents are having their insurance rates go up. This is in the hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars. We’re talking $500 or $600 million that people are having to pay extra so somebody else can pay less,” Mullet said. “And the commissioner would not come to the hearing to at least defend what he did.”

When people get these increases, Mullet encourages them to reach out and says not to buy what he calls the “cliché responses” that the insurance companies are all making more money.

“The reality is he forced them to lower premiums to offset whatever increases there are,” he said about Kreidler. “So he’s just forced the cost shift across the state of Washington. The insurance companies are getting the exact same amount of money they were getting before. It’s just now the people who file more claims are able to pay less, and the people who are safer are having to pay more.”

Group sues to stop Washington ban on using credit scores for insurance rates

Looking ahead, Mullet thinks there’s a way to come up with a better solution, if the judge who will hear the case next month does not overturn it first.

“My big disagreement with the insurance commissioner is it doesn’t have to 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’s a lot I think we could do to raise the credit scores of people who do have bad credit.”

“But the last thing we should be doing, especially given that senior citizens are the biggest beneficiaries of credit score discounts, is remove credit score discounts,” he added.

Listen to the Dori Monson Show weekday afternoons from noon – 3 p.m. on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

Dori Monson on KIRO Radio 97.3 FM
  • listen to dori monsonTune in to KIRO Radio weekdays at 12 noon for The Dori Monson Show.

Dori Monson Show

Dori Monson

Seattle firefighters...
Dori Monson Show

Terminated Seattle firefighters turn in their boots

Seattle firefighters who lost their jobs over the COVID vaccine mandate dropped off their boots on Tuesday.
23 hours ago
troyer...
Dori Monson Show

Pierce County Sheriff Ed Troyer says he’ll fight AG’s misdemeanor charges

Pierce County Sheriff Ed Troyer is charged with one count of false reporting, and one count of making a false or misleading statement to a public servant.
23 hours ago
scam, vaccine...
Dori Monson Show

Meet the firefighter and deckhand who won’t get vaccinated

Washington state’s COVID vaccine mandate for most government, healthcare, and education employees is set to take effect Oct. 18. Meet the state workers who are leaving their jobs.
5 days ago
JAY INSLEE, covid...
Dori Monson

Dori: Inslee planning to push COVID vax through 2024

Gov. Jay Inslee has given himself extra-constitutional "emergency" powers for 19 months. Now it looks like he is planning to extend those powers.
5 days ago
seattle police, vaccine...
Dori Monson Show

Seattle police union president says some officers are ‘willing to walk away’ from job in solidarity

If Seattle police officers are not vaccinated against COVID-19 or haven't submitted proof by Oct. 18, they risk losing their job.
8 days ago
mandate...
Dori Monson Show

King County Sheriff’s Office bans non-essential travel, sheriff travels to Boston

Employees with the King County Sheriff's Office were told all non-essential work-related travel "should be cancelled," but the sheriff went to Boston.
12 days ago

Sponsored Articles

...

How to Have a Stress-Free Real Estate Experience

The real estate industry has adapted and sellers are taking full advantage of new real estate models. One of which is Every Door Real Estate.
...
IQ Air

How Poor Air Quality Is Affecting Our Future Athletes

You cannot control your child’s breathing environment 100% of the time, but you can make a huge impact.
...
Swedish Health Services

Special Coverage: National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

There are a wide variety of treatment options available for men with prostate cancer. The most technologically advanced treatment option in the Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform.
...
Marysville Police Department

Police Opportunities in a Growing, Supportive Washington Community

Marysville PD is looking for both lateral and entry level officers. Begin or continue your career in law enforcement for a growing, supportive community.
...
Comcast

Small, Minority-Owned Businesses in King County and Pierce County Can Now Apply For $10,000 Relief Grants Through Comcast RISE

Businesses in King County and Pierce County can apply beginning on October 1, 2021, at www.ComcastRISE.com for a chance to receive a $10,000 relief grant.
Courtesy of JWatch Photography....
Experience Anacortes

Summer Fun Activities in Anacortes

With minimal travel time required and every activity under the sun, Anacortes is the perfect vacation spot for all ages.
State Senator disagrees with making insurance rates a ‘zero sum game’