Dover, DE – On June 27, 2017, the Delaware State Senate voted nearly unanimously (20-1) to pass House Substitute 1 for House Bill 80 (“HS 1 for HB 80”). This measure, a substitute to the Department of Insurance’s original HB 80, targets unfair discriminatory practices used by automobile insurance companies to determine premium costs.
“For too long, automobile insurance companies have been using unfair practices to increase premiums,” said Commissioner Navarro. “As a candidate, I pledged to address this issue. While HS 1 for HB 80 was not all that the Department of Insurance was advocating for, it is a major step toward insurance premium fairness. I would like to thank my staff for their tireless efforts to craft this final version of the bill. I thank the bill’s prime sponsor Representative Trey Paradee who zealously advocated for Delaware consumers. I would also like to thank Senators Margaret Rose Henry and Brian Pettyjohn who served as the bill’s co-prime sponsors in the Senate. Finally, a debt of gratitude is owed to Senator Brian Bushweller who successfully managed the bill on the floor and guided it to victory.”
The following major changes will be imposed under this law:
1. Insurance companies may not use an insurance credit score that uses income, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, education, address, zip code, race, ethnic group, religion, marital status or nationality of the consumer as a factor.
2. The company may not cancel or non-renew a policy based on credit information alone.
3. They may not take action against a consumer because that person lacks a credit card or lacks credit information
4. Cannot utilize collection information using medical codes.
5. Cannot utilize extraordinary life circumstances such as serious illness or injury, death of a spouse or loved one, divorce, and involuntary loss of employment for 3 months or more.
6. HS 1 for HB 80 continues Delaware’s prohibition on using credit in policy renewals, unless a review request results in lower premiums.
7. An insurer cannot increase a renewal rate for a personal automobile policy based solely on an insured attaining the age of 75 or older.
8. An insurer cannot increase rates based upon a change of marital status due to the death of a spouse.
HS 1 for HB 80 has not yet been signed by Governor Carney. It will go into effect in January 2018. Meantime, consumers who have questions about the new law are encouraged to contact the Consumer Services Division at (302) 674-7310 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.