The Car Insurance Industry Attacks Our Story. Here’s Our Response …

Davide Bonazzi, special to ProPublica

Earlier this week, we published an examination with Consumer Reports in that we found that many minority neighborhoods compensate aloft automobile word premiums than white areas with a same risk. Our commentary were formed on investigate of word premiums and payouts in California, Illinois, Texas and Missouri. We found insurers such as Allstate, Geico and Liberty Mutual were charging premiums that were as many as 30 percent aloft in zip codes where many residents are minorities than in whiter neighborhoods with identical collision costs. (Here are details on how we did a analysis.)

An attention trade group, a Insurance Information Institute, responded in a Insurance Journal. The piece, by James Lynch, clamp boss of investigate and information services, calls a essay “inaccurate, unfair, and irresponsible.” We disagree. As we typically do with a reporting, we contacted a attention good forward of announcement and gave it an event to examination a information and methodology and respond to a findings.

Here is a response we and Consumer Reports sent to a Insurance Journal.


While we conclude that Mr. Lynch and a attention might remonstrate with a commentary and conclusions, we wish to scold for readers several errors he done in describing a work. In fact, we expelled a minute methodology of a study, essentially to be as pure and blunt as probable about what we did and did not do, and about a stipulations of a analysis.

Mr. Lynch writes that we resolved that “auto insurers assign foul high rates to people in minority and low-income communities.” In fact, we found that a disparities were not singular to low-income communities and insist even in abundant minority neighborhoods.

Mr. Lynch writes that we done a mistake by “comparing a waste of all drivers within a ZIP formula to a reward charged to a singular person.” This avowal does not scrupulously impersonate what we did. We compared a normal reward in minority zip codes to a normal reward in neighborhoods with identical collision costs and a aloft suit of white residents.

Mr. Lynch writes that word companies do not set rates formed on competition or income. Our essay does not contend that they do. However, as a essay forked out, companies can use such criteria as credit measure and occupation, that have been shown to outcome in aloft prices for minorities.

Mr. Lynch writes that we did not residence “how automobile insurers labelled policies where information about a policyholders and a ZIP code’s detriment costs was thin.” In fact, we analyzed in fact California’s complement of permitting insurers to set rates for frugally populated farming areas by deliberation risk in constant zip codes.

Minority Neighborhoods Pay Higher Car Insurance Premiums Than White Areas With a Same Risk

Our investigate of premiums and payouts in California, Illinois, Texas and Missouri shows that some vital insurers assign minority neighborhoods as many as 30 percent some-more than other areas with identical collision costs. Read a story.

Mr. Lynch writes that we do not cruise that “an automobile insurer’s particular detriment costs … could change from a statewide average.” In fact, we concurred this indicate in a essay as a intensity reduction of a study, while observant that a inner information of one word company, Nationwide, showed a larger inconsistency than a statewide average.

Mr. Lynch also implies we usually practical a investigate to a 30-year-old driver. As we concurred in a methodology, we could not take any non-static into account. We did repeat a investigate for some-more than 40 motorist profiles that differed by age, gender, series of drivers and series of cars. When we ran a numbers, we found unchanging results.

Our methodology was grown over some-more than a year and reviewed by a accumulation of eccentric experts in a margin (including academics, statisticians and former regulators), whose feedback we incorporated. We were pure with a Insurance Information Institute and with a organisation a trade organisation hired, providing all a information and even a formula to safeguard they could sincerely respond.

We would acquire a same clarity in return. While a attention criticizes ProPublica and Consumer Reports for not regulating company-specific data, such as particular insurers’ waste in any zip code, it does not make this information available. If a attention would recover it, we would acquire a event to take a demeanour and continue a conversation.

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