My husband and I live on a fixed income. We’ve paid our bills, been productive in our jobs and communities, gotten great credit, and downsized to accommodate our greatly reduced incomes now that we’re both retired. No one could have predicted the impact of COVID-19 on Washington State.
Our governor has declared a statewide state of emergency, which seems to be endless. The impact on jobs, middle and low income citizens has been enormous. Now, the Washington Insurance Commissioner has passed a ban that prohibits insurance companies from using credit rating ratings to determine rates.
While I applaud the idea of helping those whose incomes have been wiped out or severely reduced due to the pandemic, it’s obvious that someone hasn’t really considered the impact on citizens who live on fixed incomes. These include retired seniors, people with medical disabilities, and others who, for various reasons, are already struggling to stretch their budgets in the face of rising food and fuel, to the increase in goods purchased as the companies supplying them pass on the costs of fuels, supplies, etc. There is a ripple effect that will only make financial insecurity worse.
When we received a renewal notice from our auto insurance company, we were shocked. Our agent is also struggling to understand the impact on his clients. How much increase? About 25%. Our rates are already increasing due to our age and it looks like they will increase every year.
How can the insurance commissioner justify this ban? RCW 448.02.060(4) appears to link this action to a time when the governor declared a state of emergency. Governor Jay Inslee’s state of emergency should have ended a while ago. Otherwise, we can only see that one by one, another agency will add another rule, another prohibition, another mandate, which will destroy budgets that have already been pushed to the limit.
What is being done to end the state of emergency and prevent a left-wing politician from allowing others in power to bring greater instability to our fellow citizens? How can the insurance commissioner’s ban be revoked? He was challenged in court and he lost, but somehow it still happens.
As our insurance agent kindly suggested, write to the politicians who represent the citizens of Washington and share the impact of these declarations and prohibitions on your life. We will, and we hope many of you will do the same.