Not everyone agrees with the Consumer Federation of America’s conclusions concerning fairness. For instance, R.J. Lehmann, senior fellow and public affairs director at the R Street Institute think tank, says non-driving factors are statistically important in setting auto insurance rates.

“It should not be surprising to anyone that consumers dislike insurance rating and underwriting practices that run counter to their intuitive notions of justice and fairness. But insurance is built upon statistics, not intuitions,” Lehmann says.

He adds: “Insurers are in the business of accepting and pooling risks, not in determining whether a particular applicant is a good person or even, necessarily, a good driver. What they want to know is how likely that person is to file claims. And data has shown quite conclusively that all of these disputed variables — gender, credit, education, persistency of coverage, occupation, ZIP code — are credible predictors of risk.”

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