Hawaii commissioner warns insurers of discriminatory practices

November 5, 2006

The Hawaii Insurance Division has issued a memo to all motor vehicle insurance insurers authorized in the state that discriminatory practices are prohibited, including those that award discounts.

According to Commissioner J.P. Schmidt, “No insurer shall base any standard or rating plan, in whole or in part, directly or indirectly, upon a person’s race, creed, ethnic extraction, age, sex, length of driving experience, credit bureau rating, marital status or physical handicap,” according to Hawaii Revised Statutes 431:10C-207.

“Graduate of driver safety programs may be considered for the awarding of insurance premium discounts by insurers if the afforded discounts are not in violation of HRS 431: 10C-207,” he states. “Insurers should encourage their insureds to take advantage of proactive courses that give insureds more defensive driving tools and enhance their driving skills.”

As an example, Commissioner Schmidt said, the Association for the Advancement of Retired People previously had a driver safety program that was limited to individuals ages 55 and older. But if an insurer gave discounts to policyholders who took the AARP course, the insurer would be in violation of the law because drivers under age 55 could not take the course. AARP’s Driver Safety program has since been modified so that anyone can take the program regardless of age, he said.

Insurers opting to initiate discounts may request an expedited review and waiver of the waiting period for the rate and rule filings pursuant to HRS 431-10C-202(2) and 431:14-104(j), Commissioner Schmidt said. Insurers also may contact the Rate and Policy Branch at 808-586-2809 with any questions.

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