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State Senate passes bill forcing auto insurance companies to not use gender to determine price

Roman Battaglia
Delaware Public Media

The state Senate passes legislation seeking to prohibit insurance companies from considering a driver’s sex, gender, or gender identity in the price of automobile insurance.

SB 231 narrowly passed with 11 votes in the 21-person Senate. Eight voted against with two not voting.

The legislation was prompted by a report released last month showing some women in Delaware pay significantly higher auto insurance premiums when all other factors are the same.

Republicans argued the report released by Insurance Commissioner Trinidad Navarro and the Consumer Federation of America did not have enough data since it only included women the age of 35, and it was based on price quotes not actual policies.

State Sen. Colin Bonini (R-Dover) was among those voting against it.

"This is a statement bill, right. I could do statement bills, but I don't. I don't think we should be doing it, especially when it's going to impact the pocketbooks of every single Delaware family who has automobile insurance," said Bonini.

Bonini noted that the bill not going through the Insurance committee was a red flag for him.

Democrats argue data from insurance companies show nationally that women in their 30’s, 40’s, and 50’s are charged more than men.

"What is fair about charging a person for a service based not on how they use or are likely to use that service, but based on who they are? Insurance companies choose not to use race, sexual orientation, national origin, or religion in rating. There is no rationale no fair reason to distinguish gender, sex, or gender identity for the same purpose," said State Sen. Kyle Evans Gay (D-Talleyville), the bill’s sponsor.

The legislation now heads to the House.

Joe brings over 20 years of experience in news and radio to Delaware Public Media and the All Things Considered host position. He joined DPM in November 2019 as a reporter and fill-in ATC host after six years as a reporter and anchor at commercial radio stations in New Castle and Sussex Counties.