Judge Finds Washington Commissioner Exceeded Authority on Credit Score Ban

Thurston County Superior Court Judge Indu Thomas found that while Washington Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler’s rule temporarily banning credit scoring followed the Administrative Procedures Act, but he exceeded his statutory authority.

In her ruling, Thomas said the record supplied by the Office of the Insurance Commissioner contained credible information that the use of credit scores is discriminatory.

“Today’s decision confirms that the best place to permanently address this issue is in the legislature,” Kreidler said in a statement. “I hope legislators will listen to all policyholders impacted by this practice and not just the insurance industry.”

Washington Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler
Washington Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler

Kreidler said he will consult with the agency’s legal representation within the Attorney General’s office on the appropriate next steps.

Currently, there has been a stay on the credit scoring rule. Today’s ruling leaves the stay in effect.

The ban was challenged by several insurer groups, including the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies.

Erin Collins, NAMIC’s senior vice president, state and policy affairs, issued the following statement from the group:

“Today’s decision is a win for Washington consumers, especially seniors, who will be able to continue paying lower insurance rates that more accurately reflect their risk. NAMIC is grateful to the court for recognizing that state insurance law should be decided by the people via the Legislature. We hope the judge’s decision will settle this matter and that Washington’s insurance companies can get back to serving their policyholders.”

Related: