COLUMBUS, Ohio, Sept. 16, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Root, Inc. (NASDAQ: ROOT ), the parent company of Root Insurance Company, today commemorated the first anniversary of its Drop the Score campaign to eliminate credit discrimination from auto insurance. The campaign's anniversary comes as the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), a regulatory body that includes commissioners from all 50 states, launches an investigation into industry practices.
Amid national discussion on racial and economic inequality, Root is working to raise awareness around the discriminatory impact of credit-based auto insurance rates currently used by all major insurers. While credit scores are meant to measure risk, generations of discriminatory systemic policies mean consumers with poor or no credit, such as immigrants or people struggling with medical or student debt, are forced to pay up to $1,500 more in annual premiums, regardless of driving ability. This entrenched form of bias in a largely government-mandated product is acute for communities of color, with 54 percent of Black Americans and 41 percent of Hispanic Americans having poor credit scores or no credit at all . In effect, credit scores are often a better proxy for race and income than risk.
"America's roads should not be open to discrimination," says Root CEO Alex Timm. "But as long as the auto insurance industry continues to rely on credit scores to underwrite premiums, millions of Americans will continue to pay more because of who they are, not how they drive.
"Thanks to advances in telematics and technology, a future free from outdated practices like credit scores is already here. And while change won't happen overnight, I'm glad to see the wheels in motion as the NAIC begins its investigation into biased industry practices and we embark on the second year of Drop the Score."
The campaign focused on public awareness with the release of a consumer report showing that 82% of Americans expect premiums to be based on driving record. Building on its public education efforts, the company began supporting state legislative action.
The most recent legislative session saw reform measures introduced or passed in Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, Oregon, and Washington, potentially affecting more than 30 million drivers. At the national level, Root also began its push to urge the NAIC to examine issues of bias, culminating with testimony from Root CEO Alex Timm ahead of the organization's decision to study the underlying causes of racial discrimination in the industry, including the use of credit scores.
In addition to push factors, Root has used its own model to create pull factors by demonstrating the possibility and practicality of alternatives to credit-based pricing. Through its app that leverages AI technology to measure indicators like hard braking and speed of turns, the company calculates rates that are based primarily on how individuals drive, rather than their wealth, race, or ethnicity.
About RootRoot Insurance is the nation's first licensed insurance carrier powered entirely by mobile. We were founded on the principle that auto insurance rates should be based primarily on driving behaviors, not demographics. Using mobile technology and data science, Root offers personalized, fair rates to good drivers all through an easy-to-use app.
Root is headquartered in Columbus, Ohio, with renters insurance available in Arkansas, Missouri, Ohio, Georgia, Kentucky, Nevada, Tennessee, and Utah, and auto insurance currently available to drivers in Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, Nevada, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.
Media Contact:Tom KuhnCommunications Directorpress@joinroot.com