A panel is currently considering altering the way that driver premiums will be calculated.
The House Business and Labor Committee has been presented with House Bill 600 by Rep. Wendy Warburtonwhich would stop rates for auto insurance and all other forms of coverage except health from excluding gender from the factors that are considered in premiums calculation.
This would repeal a measure that was put into place back in 1985 within the state.
This highly controversial auto insurance and industry issue has been challenged within the Montana Legislature nearly every session since it was first implemented in that year. Warburton (R-Havre) explained that by repealing the old measure from 1985, which was put into place as an effort toward anti-discrimination, it would actually help insurers to put money back into the pockets of the state’s residents.
In the case of auto insurance, this would be especially beneficial to female drivers, who would pay less.
Should this bill pass, it would help many drivers in Montana, especially women, to be able to keep more money in their pockets. At the same time, male drivers would be at a disadvantage, comparatively.
Supporters of this bill have included representatives from auto insurance companies and other coverage providers, who are saying that the laws within the state are out of date. Montana remains the only state in the country where a unisex regulation remains in place. According to Rep. Nancy Ballance (R-Hamilton), allowing insurers to be able to access gender information in the calculation of premiums would generate healthy competition within the industry in the state.
Ballance explained that “We have information that says women are better risks than men.”
At the same time, those who are opposed to changing the current regulations have said that the measure would not actually benefit women. In fact, they say that should the bill be enacted, it would only hurt women over the long term. Though women under the age of 25 would see lower premiums on their auto insurance, overall, it would increase the cost of life and disability coverage for women in order age brackets, according to Linda Gryczan from the Montana Women’s Lobby.