News and Features: Online exclusives
State hits Progressive with $125,000 fine
Website link provided information on use of credit scores
December 12, 2011
The Massachusetts Division of Insurance today slapped a $125,000 fine on Progressive Insurance for inadvertently posting a link on its website about the use of credit scores in setting auto insurance rates.
The insurance giant apologized for the confusion and said it does not use credit scores in setting auto insurance rates in Massachusetts. It also said all the rates it provided to Massachusetts customers on its website were accurate and legal.
“However, we may have inadvertently led some people to believe that we use credit for rating and underwriting because the link appeared on the site,” the company said in a statement. “This link is standard in other states where credit is a part of the rating and underwriting process.”
The incident shows how controversial credit scores have become in Massachusetts. In most states, automobile insurers use a person’s credit score to predict their likelihood of becoming involved in an accident. But the practice was banned as discriminatory in Massachusetts, initially by regulation and more recently with the passage of a new law that prohibits the use of credit scores in setting rates.
The state Division of Insurance said 3,200 Massachusetts consumers visited the Progressive website and received the credit inquiry information. The division is requiring Progressive to contact each of the customers and explain the mixup and also provide them with a free copy of their credit report.