Profiling By Insurance Companies

When I open a bank account and get asked all kinds of information, I don’t love it, but I don’t feel like I’m being judged either. I mean, clearly, my bank doesn’t give a “damn” about me living in this or this street, being a male, having kids or being married. It’s useful information that might be used to better sell me products in the future but it has no direct or indirect effect on the interest rate that I will be receiving on my account, what charge I will face at ATM’s, etc. If I ask for a loan, it will clearly have an impact but I do feel like it’s somewhat justified. Clearly, I should be able to get a bigger loan than the homeless guy I meet on my way to work but perhaps not as much as Bill Gates.

Do Insurance Companies “Judge You”?

When I called to shop for a car insurance policy, I very quickly became uncomfortable. Each time I was being asked a question, I felt like there was a right and a wrong answer. The impact of a wrong answer being a much higher premium of course. To be fair, I don’t think I was judged on my name. But clearly, saying that I was a young male was about as bad of a start as I could have had. I was probably seen as a “risky driver” from that moment on. Then, by disclosing my income, my job, where I live, I knew that I was being quickly put into a category that would have a major impact on how much I’ll need to pay to get my insurance.

There Are Obvious Ones

It’s easy to understand why the insurance company wants to know much I drive every year, what kind of car I have, any accidents or speeding tickets that I might have had in the past few months, etc. Those are all very straight forward questions that I don’t mind answering. For many others though, it feels like I am the victim of profiling.

Is It Fair?

It’s obviously different but when arabs go through airport security and more often than not end up getting “extra attention” and a few more questions, I’m certain that many of them do feel like it’s not fair. I guess I could probably feel the same way about the fact that I’m paying more to get insured just because I’m young and a guy.

The Thing Is…It’s Fair

If you ran an insurance company, could make a $20 premium for clients but knew that a specific group is likely to lead you to lose money, would you accept all of them at the same price? Chances are that you’d change your pricing or turn some of them away. I‘d certainly do that. I can certainly understand their end of the bargain but it’s obviously frustrating when you’re on the wrong site of it. Take health car insurance, where in the US in particular, those with pre-existing conditions can end up being unable to get insurance. Is that fair? I can certainly understand how it’s a challenge for companies

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