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Alaska lawmakers look at prohibiting the use of credit histories

Alaska joined a growing number of states seeking to regulate insurers' use of credit histories when lawmakers approved legislation prohibiting insurers from using a person's credit report to charge higher home and auto insurance premiums. The state also strengthened its law that regulates the prompt payment of health insurance claims.

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Lawmakers approved Senate Bill 320 that bans insurers from using a consumer's credit history to determine premiums.

According to a study by Conning & Co., more than 90 percent of auto insurance companies and an increasing number of home insurers use your credit information, filtered through a formula, to create an "insurance risk score" to determine how likely you are to file a claim on an insurance policy. More than half of those insurers use that information to determine how much to charge you in premiums. Read How your credit history affects your auto and home insurance premiums.

Prompt pay

Alaska's new prompt-pay law requires group health insurers to pay health insurance claims within 30 "calendar" days. Formerly, insurers had 30 "working" days to pay after receiving a "clean claim," or a claim submitted to them without any defects.

Alaska is one of 46 states that have enacted prompt-payment laws, according to the Health Insurance Association of America, an industry trade group. Only Idaho, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Carolina do not have some type of prompt-pay law. The average time limit for health insurance claims payments adopted by most states ranges between 25 and 35 days.

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