Nationwide Insurance and USAA are required by California to adjust rates for auto insurance. The request was caused by a report form ProPublica and Consumer Reports. According to that report, several minority neighborhoods paid more for their car insurance than those in predominately white neighborhoods with the same risk factors.
Insurance regulators confirmed price differences are linked to incorrect usage of a California law provision. The provision allows insurance companies to put several neighborhoods in the same area into one rating territory. The two insurers affected, Nationwide and USAA, are numbered in the top ten largest providers by market share in the United States. The proposed adjustments to rates will greatly reduce racial inequalities in the two providers pricing.
The analysis from Consumer Reports showed USAA pricing was 18% higher on the average. Nationwide had a 14% higher rate. These rates were higher in economically challenged, minority areas than in neighborhoods with more white people but the same high accident costs. According to the California Department of Insurance, it is impossible to quantify how adjustments will affect insured’s premiums. Revisions are just too complex. Making it even harder, these revisions are happening at the same time as a general rate increase. Insurers are now required to show more justification for their measure of risk in underprivileged, minority neighborhoods. California designates these areas as underserved in the auto coverage industry.