Committee OKs bill to ban auto insurers from discriminating against seniors

Posted: February 28, 2017 | Insurance and Financial Services, Senator Diamond

AUGUSTA —A bill to protect Maine’s seniors from increased car insurance rates based solely on their age, received the unanimous support of the Legislature’s Insurance and Financial Affairs Committee on Tuesday, paving the way for broad, bipartisan support in the full Legislature.

The bill, “LD 308, An Act To Prohibit Charging Maine Seniors Higher Automobile Insurance Premiums Based Solely on Their Age,” was sponsored by Sen. Bill Diamond, D-Windham.

The Committee amended the bill at the suggestion of the Maine Bureau of Insurance, which supported the bill’s concept but recommended that it also prevent insurers from refusing to cover drivers simply because they had reached a certain age. The amendment also clarifies the fact that prohibitions apply to new applicants as well as existing customers.

“Particularly with Maine’ aging population, this bill will be a great safeguard to have on the books,” said Sen. Brownie Carson, the lead Senate Democrat on the Committee.

Sen. Diamond submitted the bill after Progressive, an automobile insurance company attempted to raise auto insurance rates for new customers above the age of 65.

Generally, drivers with good records can expect to see their insurance rates decrease as they age, not vice versa. Elderly are less likely to be involved in car accidents. According to the American Automobile Association, older drivers pose less of a risk than most age groups due to driving within the speed limits, using their seat belts and avoiding drunk driving, among other factors.

“I was pleased to see this bill earn the bipartisan support of the committee. It’s a commonsense consumer protection for our senior population, and I look forward to seeing it passed by the House and Senate,” said Sen. Diamond.