Legislature passes insurance bill amid warnings of higher costs for the elderly, poor

The Alaska Legislature has approved a measure that minority Senate Democrats say will result in higher auto insurance costs for rural Alaskans, racial minorities, the elderly, and the poor.

In a 13-4 vote March 1, the Alaska Senate approved House Bill 195, which allows companies to take credit scores into account when renewing insurance policies. Backers of the proposal say when it is signed into law, it will mean lower costs for people with good credit history.

The House has already approved the measure with a bipartisan 39-0 vote, and it now goes to the desk of the man who introduced it, Gov. Bill Walker. The governor vetoed a previous version of the bill last year “due to the lack of adequate protections for Alaskan consumers.” After his veto, he introduced HB 195 as a substitute.

Alaska law already allows insurance companies to consider credit scores when signing new policies. Those companies aren’t allowed to take it into account when a policy is renewed, though an insurance customer can ask the company to do so.

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