Cars parked at the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center on Feb. 13, 2021. A local insurance expert says that a recent study claiming women in Alaska pay more for car insurance than men doesn’t reflect his experience. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire File)

Study: Women in Alaska pay more for car insurance

Local expert says no

A local insurance agent says that a recent study claiming women in Alaska pay more for car insurance than men doesn’t reflect his experience.

According to a news release from Quote Wizard, a Seattle-based online insurance site, women in Alaska pay $378 more for auto coverage each year than similarly situated men — representing the most significant gender disparity in the nation.

The finding is based on “thousands of quotes for full-coverage car insurance in random zip codes across the country for drivers 18 and 35 years old with excellent credit and no accidents. The vehicle used for data is a 2012 Honda Accord LX with 16,000 miles in annual mileage,” the release reads.

Not so fast

Local State Farm agent Rueben Willis said that those numbers do not reflect his experience.

“None of the data I have would reflect that,” he said in a Tuesday phone interview. “That’s not my experience over 30 years of doing this.”

He explained that when new drivers hit the road, females pay less than males until males marry or turn 30. He said that difference is driven by claims data, with males in that age group generally having more claims.

But, he said after that, the company does not offer a gender-based rating scheme.

“We don’t have a sex-based rate. There’s no difference between males and females. We just use tickets and accident history,” he said.

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State regulators weigh in

In an email to the Empire, Glenn Hoskinson, public information officer for the Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development, said the agency’s property and casualty section of the Division of Insurance reviewed the study but said they couldn’t comment on the accuracy of the report.

“We do agree that rating based on gender could lead to unfair discrimination, but so could many other factors, such as where you live, marital status, etc.,” she said.

Hoskinson suggested Alaskan drivers consider telematics-based ratings that track drivers through phone apps that monitor driving habits.

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“DOI thinks this is a good alternative for consumers in the market that want to sign-up/enroll in the company’s telematics program in order to avoid possible discrimination,” she said.

• Contact reporter Dana Zigmund at dana.zigmund@juneauempire.com or 907-308-4891.

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