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Poverty Solutions staffer testifies in DC on auto insurance, cycle of poverty

Poverty Solutions staffer Joshua Rivera (MPP ’17) testified on May 1 before the U.S. House Financial Services Committee’s Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee.

The hearing, titled “Examining Discrimination in the Automobile Loan and Insurance Industries,” brought together experts to discuss how auto-related expenses vary among socioeconomic groups.

Rivera, senior data and policy advisor for Poverty Solutions’ Detroit Partnership on Economic Mobility, explained how certain auto insurance rate-setting practices have a disproportionate impact on low-income and minority drivers.

Rivera contributed to Poverty Solutions research that found auto insurance premiums were unaffordable in 97% of Michigan ZIP codes. Detroiters faced the most expensive auto insurance costs in the country, with an average annual premium of $5,414.

“These costs make it harder for people to move up the economic ladder, especially for low-income families locked out of the auto insurance market by a lack of affordable coverage options,” Rivera said in his testimony.

He called on Congress to prohibit auto insurers from using non-driving factors — like credit scores, gender, educational attainment, and home ownership status — to set premiums.

Watch video of the full hearing.