collins 031722 4SPRINGFIELD– State Senator Jacqueline Collins (D-Chicago) reflects on the compliance of the Illinois Department of Insurance to investigate auto insurance charges during the pandemic.

“As a proud advocate for the prevention of predatory business practices, I am pleased the Illinois Department of Insurance responded to the demands of myself, my colleagues and advocacy organizations,” Collins said. “The investigation is the first step in facilitating accountability within our financial institutions.”

In January, Senator Collins and advocates sent a letter to the department to study the profits earned by auto insurers during the COVID-19 pandemic, which caused a reduction in the amount of vehicle crashes and auto insurance claims due to stay-at-home protocols. If the department were to find unfair charges, it would be urged to call on auto insurers to give refunds to Illinois policyholders.

Analyses by the Consumer Federation of America show insurance companies obtained $42 billion in excess premiums while refunding only $13 billion as of 2020, demonstrating a discrepancy between actual driving data and the cost of insurance claims during the pandemic. The CFA also found the disparaging effect of undue auto insurance is most predominant among the Black community.

“Communities like those I represent disproportionately experience unethical suffering thanks to greedy businesses looking to maximize profits at the expense of consumers,” Collins said. “Illinois has worked diligently to remove barriers to equitable resource access exposed by the pandemic, and addressing these overcharges is necessary to achieve our goal.”

Senator Collins has prioritized consumer protection during her time in the Senate by sponsoring and supporting measures to bring equity and transparency to business practices. These initiatives include ending the use of credit scores to determine auto insurance premiums, spearheading the Community Reinvestment Act to ensure banks serve all communities in their business areas and imposing an interest rate cap on consumer loans.

In urging an analysis of insurance claims during the pandemic, Senator Collins shows continued dedication and service to economically disadvantaged communities.