A bill rushed through the Colorado legislature in the closing days of the session will increase automobile insurance rates by hundreds of dollars each year for hundreds of thousands of citizens, insurance industry data shows.
Governor Jared Polis should veto the bill, Senate Bill 169.
The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Janet Buckner from Aurora, said in an impassioned speech on the floor of the Colorado Senate that the bill is needed to prevent insurance companies from discriminating against people of color.
Buckner is a well-regarded legislator, but her speech was a pure fraud. It was political correctness run amuck
It is already against both state and federal law for insurance companies to unfairly discriminate against any person for any reason. An insurance company that discriminated against customers based on race would face massive fines, and their executives severe penalties, as well they should.
But for Buckner that’s not enough. Her bill would give the Colorado Division of Insurance broad power to totally ignore generations of actuarial and mathematical data used to set insurance prices.
Buckner, in particular, is focused on prohibiting insurance companies from using zip codes as a factor in setting prices, because she suggests a zip code is a mere proxy for racial discrimination.
In the first place, discrimination is against the law already.
Second, the use of zip codes to establish risks and rates isn’t a racist artifact. Roads in rural zip codes are less congested and, therefore, safer than in more congested areas. Zip codes that are more prone to experience hail storms will pay more, because hail claims are pricey. And on and on the story goes. A zip code isn’t a tool to promote institutional racism. It is a tool that any actuary will tell you is a needed instrument to establish risk and, therefore, set prices.
This is one example of political correctness run amuck in this bill. Another example: this bill purports to crack down on gender bias in auto insurance.
Gender bias? Really? If you are a 16-year-old male, you pay high insurance rates than a 16-year-old-female, but not for any reason that has anything to do with discrimination. Young men are mathematically more likely to be in accidents, and so as a group, they pay more.
That is not discrimination. That is common sense. Because if young men don’t pay higher rates, all the rest of us will be charged for it.
The other groups that will lose badly if this bill is signed are teachers, nurses, firefighters and police — all professions that get pricing discounts because, as a profession, their claims rate is dramatically lower than others.
SB 169 is an exemplar of what is wrong with one-party, Democratic dominance in Denver. There is no common sense.
If Gov. Polis does not veto the bill, motorists in Colorado will pay a new premium for an insurance policy that is governed by political correctness, not basic math.
— Dan Woog, an Erie Republican, represents House District 63 — a large portion of which is in Weld County — in the Colorado General Assembly. He serves on the House Energy & Environment and Public & Behavioral Health & Human Services committees.