By Max Dorfman, Research Writer, Triple-I
Most consumers believe the majority of personal insurance rating factors that insurers use to underwrite and price homeowners and auto coverage are fair, according to a new survey by the Insurance Research Council (IRC) – like Triple-I, an affiliate of The Institutes.
But there was some variation regarding which variables they consider fair.
Overall, consumers were more favorable toward factors they perceived to be directly related to the risk of the insured property (condition of the home, cost of rebuilding, miles driven, vehicle information, etc.). They were less likely to rank fair on aspects connected to the insured’s personal profile.
The study, Public Perceptions Regarding the Fairness of Insurance Rating Factors, focused on homeowners and personal auto insurance. IRC found that all 19 homeowners insurance rating factors were assessed to be fair by most respondents, and the majority deemed 10 of the 14 personal auto factors.
Insurance companies use statistically predictive rating variables to assess risk and determine policy prices, helping to accurately align premiums with risk and offer coverage to higher-risk consumers. The variables consider several socioeconomic factors to determine these coverage costs, including gender, age, education, and credit-based insurance scores.
“Given how inflation and other factors have driven up the cost of auto and homeowners insurance in recent years, IRC was not surprised to learn that paying for these essential coverages has been a financial burden for a sizable number of Americans,” said IRC president and Triple-I chief insurance officer Dale Porfilio. “Yet, at the same time, consumers expressed widespread support in our survey for the fairness of the rating factors used by insurance carriers to price their auto and homeowners policies.”
Among personal auto factors, those most likely to be deemed fair included:
- Traffic conviction record;
- Driver’s loss/claim history; and
- Driving behavior data from telematics.
However, the personal auto factors that were least likely to be considered fair were:
- Education level;
- Marital status; and
- Gender of the driver.
Concerning homeowners insurance, the most fair factors included:
- The use of safety systems
- Condition of home; and
- The estimated cost of rebuilding.
Least agreeable factors for homeowners involved:
- Credit history;
- Condition of surrounding building; and
- The data from a connected device.
Previous IRC research that focused on consumer attitudes about the use of credit history as an insurance rating factor found that skepticism about the link between credit and future insurance claims declines when the predictive power of credit-based insurance scores is explained to them.