The Washington Department of Insurance has launched a new website that allows consumers to review rate proposals from the state’s insurers. The website is the brainchild of Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler, who has been an advocate for transparency in the insurance industry for many years. The Department of Insurance had been awarded with federal grants to build the site a month ago. The site was completed and launched late last week and has already been updated with information on pending proposals.
The website was made possible by House Bill 1220, which allows the state’s insurance agency to disclose information regarding rate proposals and the financial data used to back them. The information to be disclosed in the website will include administrative costs, profit margins and the cost of claims.
The initiative has drawn criticism from several insurers in the state, as it releases information they deem sensitive in nature. Regulators, however, are keen to increase the level of transparency within the industry and hope to give consumers a leading role in determining the fairness of higher rates.
Though the website is still in its infancy, Commissioner Kreidler has plans to expand its usage with a “comprehensive web tool” that is expected to be released in the fall. The tool will allow consumers to find rates and comment on them if they sign up for an account.
The website can be found here: www.insurance.wa.gov/consumers/health/transparency/index.shtml