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Department of Insurance, Securities and Banking

Department of Insurance, Securities and Banking Protects Residents from Auto Insurance Bias

Tuesday, June 7, 2022


Washington, DC–The District of Columbia Department of Insurance, Securities and Banking (DISB) today announced a new partnership to help identify whether District residents may be experiencing unintentional bias in the underwriting and rating criteria used by automobile insurers. O’Neil Risk Consulting and Algorithmic Auditing (ORCAA), a consulting firm that helps organizations identify and manage algorithmic risks, is assisting with the review.

The transparent review will begin with a virtual public hearing on June 29 at 3 pm EDT to solicit input from residents, subject matter experts and insurers selling private passenger automobile insurance in the District. The input will help shape the design and implementation of the review. DISB and ORCAA will then work with insurers to collect the necessary information. Any person or organization wishing to testify at the hearing should contact the Department via email at [email protected] or on (202) 442-7823 by 5 pm on Friday, June 24 to have their names added to the witness list.

“As part of our diversity, equity and inclusion efforts, DISB is proud to partner with ORCAA to evaluate whether consumers in the District may be adversely impacted by unfair or discriminatory practices,” said DISB Commissioner Karima M. Woods.

ORCAA will analyze the data and provide a report that will help DISB evaluate whether any unintentional bias exists in the use of underwriting and rating criteria. These criteria may include credit scores, education, home ownership, occupation and marital status. If any needed changes are identified, DISB will work with the insurers on an implementation plan.

The rapid expansion of big data has transformed insurance practices. While the use of data analytics has the potential to benefit both insurers and consumers by increasing efficiencies, the unchecked use of big data can unintentionally result in harm to people of color and other protected groups.

“We are honored to be part of DISB’s work on this important issue. Big data and AI are widely used in auto insurance, but their impacts on consumers are not fully understood. Setting up a common review framework for the industry can provide assurance to consumers and clarity to insurers,” said ORCAA CEO Cathy O’Neil.

ORCAA has worked with a variety of public and private organizations including the Illinois Attorney General’s Office, Consumer Reports, Airbnb and the Washington State Department of Licensing.

About DISB

The mission of the Department of Insurance, Securities, and Banking (DISB) is three-fold: (1) cultivate a regulatory environment that protects consumers and attracts and retains financial services firms to the District; (2) empower and educate residents on financial matters; and (3) provide financing for District small businesses.

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