Earlier this week, Judge Indu Thomas entered the final order declaring that Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler exceeded his authority when he issued a permanent rule banning the use of credit-based insurance scores.
Judge Thomas initially granted the industry’s petition for a declaratory judgment and invalidated the rule in a decision rendered from the bench on July 29.
Thomas’ entry of the final order on Aug. 29 marks the end of the controversial battle between Kreidler and insurance groups.
Four trade associations were involved in fighting the rule: the American Property Casualty Insurance Association, Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of Washington, National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies, and Professional Insurance Agents of Washington. They filed the successful legal challenge.
The groups issued the following joint comment: “Commissioner Kreidler’s rule disrupted the Washington insurance marketplace and forced over a million policyholders to pay higher insurance rates. Today’s final order is an important victory for Washington consumers, particularly lower risk senior policyholders who were forced to pay more to subsidize higher risk policyholders because the rule eliminated the use of credit.”
In rendering her decision, Thomas held that the commissioner could not rely on the more general rating standard statute that prohibited “excessive, inadequate, or unfairly discriminatory” rates to “eliminate all meaning from the more specific credit history statutes by which the legislature had authorized its use.”
Kreidler in a statement following the ruling said he will not appeal the decision.
(This article was originally published on Wells Media sister site, Insurance Journal.)