April 7, 2014 Based on article by Young Ha in Insurance Journal
A recent investigation of some of New York State's largest auto insurers conducted by the consumer advocacy group, The New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG) has found some upsetting results. It has discovered that 3 out of the 5 largest New York auto insurers are charging higher premiums to motorists who have less education and who hold non-professional, non-managerial jobs.
The group examined quotes given for a hypothetical driver on auto insurance websites by manipulating just the factors of education and occupation. The driver's profile was a 30 year old single women living moderate income areas in Albany, Buffalo, Patchogue, Poughkeepsie, Queens, Staten Island and Syracuse driving a 2008 Honda Civic 7,500 miles annually and who has been driving for 14 years.
The startling results showed that a driver with a high school degree working as a bank teller paid 18 percent more annually for auto insurance than someone who was college educated and in a managerial bank position. NYPIRG quoted that the difference was on average from paying $1469 vs. $1247.
This finding was summed up by Andy Morrison, consumer advocate at NYPIRG in an interview.“We looked at some of the top insurers in New York, and we found that all things being equal, some companies are charging high school graduates with blue collar jobs more than college-educated professionals for the exact same coverage,” Two of the largest New York auto insurers, GEICO and Progressive, considered occupation and education in their premium rates while one insurer, Liberty Mutual only considered education. It found that State Farm auto insurers do not use occupation or education in their premiums.
NYPIRG is using the report to urge New York regulators to conduct a thorough review of the rate-making practices by auto insurers in New York.