Insurance rating characteristics have come under scrutiny by legislators and
regulators in their efforts to identify and address racial bias in insurance
practices. The goal of this paper is to equip actuaries with the information
needed to proactively participate in industry discussions and actions related
to racial bias and insurance rating factors. This paper uses the following
definition of racial bias:
Racial bias refers to a system that is inherently skewed along racial lines.
Racial bias can be intentional or unintentional and can be present in the
inputs, design, implementation, interpretation, or outcomes of any system.
This paper will examine four commonly used rating factors in personal
lines insurance — credit-based insurance score, geographic location, home
ownership, and motor vehicle records — to understand how the data
underlying insurance pricing models may be impacted by racially biased
policies and practices outside of the system of insurance. Historical issues
like redlining and racial segregation, as well as inconsistent enforcement of
policies and practices contribute to this potential bias. These historical
issues do not necessarily change the validity of the actuarial approach of
evaluating statistical correlation of rating factors to insurance loss overall.
Differences in the way individual insurers build rating models may produce
very different end results for customers. More data and analyses are
needed to understand if and to what extent these specific issues of racial
bias impact insurance outcomes. Actuaries and other readers can combine
this information with their own subject matter expertise to determine if and
how this could impact the systems for which they are responsible, and what
actions, if any, could be taken as a result.
Author(s): Members of the 2021 CAS Race and Insurance Research Task Force
Publication Date: March 2022
Publication Site: CAS