Heard About Washington's Credit Score Change? Wondering why rates are always changing - and what you can do about it?  We can help.

Washington State Insurance Commissioner, Mike Kriedler imposed an "emergency ban" on the use of credit score in rating for insurance companies that was eff. 6/2021. It has been a rollercoaster ever since for our insurance consumers here in Washington. For the full story, scroll down and read on for more detail than you probably want! But for the summary please read the 4/2022 update below.

Updated 4/20/22

We have been notified that this issue will likely go on for 1-3 years!  The legal system and each side of the issue is heavily embroiled in their view point and neither is willing to budge. Where does that you leave you?  With us, in the middle, not a great place to be.
Some insurance carriers are using credit some are not. Unfortunately, Insurance Companies must file with the Commissioner to get rates changed and get the use of credit put back in, which is what carriers want as it allows them to form rate in a more meaningful way.  The Commissioner wants rate removed, that is the issue in debate, so you can imagine even though by current law he will have to allow the use of credit rate change approvals are not a speedy process at this point. All that being said - here are some bottom line points for your information;


1. An advantage - We are an Independent Agent, giving us access to many insurance companies, and the ability to check multiple companies and look for the best rate within multiple carriers.  Did you know on average we are looking at 6-8 insurance companies every time we run numbers for a client?
2. The future of rates, across the nation, are going to be in tremendous flux in the coming two years. Nothing to do with credit but much more to do with our supply chain issues, our cost issues and labor issues, all driving prices up - on every insurance claim being processed.  There will be rate impact from that for sure.

3. Some good news, Deeper discounts - as the Washington State Insurance Companies try to offset both the credit ban debacle and the inevitable industry rate change coming, they are taking a deep dive into offering more credits for those that qualify. Did you know often times paying your policy in full can yield significant discounts? Bundle Home and Auto insurance with the same company is another great way to get discounts.

4. Did you know an app on your phone can earn you discounts on your insurance?  Another great way to offset price issues, ask your Account Manager about it!

5. Moving your insurance - while all of us have to watch our budgets and pricing of our policies, you might not know that longevity with a carrier can save you money.   Your policy might go up a bit at renewal, but it is likely that many insurance companies will be taking rate increases, insurance companies often reward for longevity and even if it isn't a direct discount, it does matter to your overall insurance profile.

6. Claims - Last, please check out our page on claims, when to turn them in and when not to.  You can check that out here. Being aware of how claims impact your policies and rate structure is an excellent way to help control your costs.


If you stuck with me this far - THANK YOU!!  It was long but hopefully you found it helpful. If you want more detail or a summary as you don't want to read all this - please call us. We are happy to go over this with you!


Thank you so much for allowing us to serve your insurance needs.



Updated 3/10/22
Well, this is an ever changing sitaution for sure. Mr. Kriedler attempted again to mandate the removal of credit from rating eff. 3/4/22. He issued another order mandating insurance companies in Washington to remove it. The insurance companies then filed an injuction order, and the courts agreed to grant the injuction.  Some policies were issued in that interim with out impact of credit score rating.  On 3/3/22 it was annouced that order would NOT stand and companies could continue to use credit in thier rating model while the legal process plays out. What does that mean to you?  We watch policies for rate increases and we do re rate them and reach out to clients. Unfortunately, like everyone else, we've been hit with staffing shortages, so we might be a little behind on our reach outs. Please feel free to reach out to us if you get your renewal and it went up. We want to help and we'll be happy to talk about the situation and check rates for you.



The Office of the Insurance Commissioner announces emergency ruling to immediately remove the use of credit for insurance rating purposes.


The information below is what occurred, in June of 2021 and then carried on until about Nov 2021. Changes are actively underway at this time. We wanted to try to keep you informed and let you know of the turmoil the insurance industry is dealing with.   Late in 2021, more turmoil was created with both positive and negative impacts for the industry and consumer, when a Thurston County judge overturned this emergency ruling.  She overturned it based on the fact that the Office of the Insurance Commissioner was acting outside its authority.


So what does that really mean?  Insurance companies, based on the OIC order, rushed to put it in place which caused both positive and negative for the consumer but they had no choice. The Commissioner continues to fight the use of credit and it is in legislature now. To help minimize impact on the consumer many insurance companies are waiting to see how it all plays out in the session before they change things again. Some carriers have put credit back in already.  For right now, we wait. Our advice remains the same, if your rates didn't adjust too much then best thing in the long run to stay where you are until all this settles. However, if you did see substantial rate movement, call us. We'll see what we can do, we have lots of companies to check rates and coverages.  Moving insurance carriers often can have a negative impact on your rate as well so we are always cautious about it, but yet want to offer you the coverages that meet your needs and competitive pricing.

We are monitoring this situation closely and will stay keenly aware of what our next moves need to be.


We strongly encourage you to reach out to us if you have any questions at all. You may also reach out to your local legislative reprsentative.

The information below is about the original order, which has been overturned, due to the Commissioner acting outside his authority. The industry is still trying to figure out how to fix it all! so grab your popcorn and stay tuned on this one, it's likely to be a wild ride. If you want to know more about how/why it all happened please read on...

We’d like to share some information with you in regards to your insurance policies that may financially impact you. It wasn’t decided on by you, our agency or an insurance company.  The elected official position of Insurance Commissioner, currently held by Mike Kreidler, made this decision.


In March of 2021, Mr. Kreidler issued an emergency mandate, banning the use of credit scoring by insurance companies for Home, Auto, and Renters Insurance policies issued or effective June 20th, 2021.


You may have seen this on the news or heard about it from a friend, with some concerning statements about racial inequality, in recent weeks. Is there racial inequality? Honestly, we don't know. We do know that just because a system has been used for approximately 20 years (in WA) and by 46 other states doesn't mean we should blindly follow. It also doesn't mean we remove in 60 days without proper investigation into impact on all consumers in our state. (see our opinion below)


During the 2021 Washington Legislative Session, Commissioner Kreidler requested legislation to ban this practice. Legislators rejected his proposal to ban entirely. Discussion had been underway to get both sides to come to a good middle ground, where the most consumers would be benefit. The emergency mandate, which was tied to COVID-related concerns, means that your home and auto insurance rates may be changing. Well, in fact, some may go up significantly and some may go down. That is this year, then they will likely adjust again as insurance companies have time to rate stabalize (more on that below). This isn't a decision made by ANY insurance company, it is being mandated by the Office of the Insurance Commissioner. An in depth and timely investigation with continued negotiation via legislature may have led us to a solid answer that held longer term benefit for all.  If you want your voice to be heard on the subject we highly recommend reaching out to your legislative representative and the commissioners office. We hope Washington consumers will get involved and let their voices be heard.

Will my rates change again next renewal? Quite possibly the answer is yes.  Insurance companies will work to come up with new discounts for those least likely to file claims,  and at the same time, charge accordingly for those  that may be more likely to file claims. Using the law of large numbers and statistical analysis we believe more change is coming.   One example would be, those individuals who choose to  stay with current carriers in spite of an increase right now, may well benefit due to increased discounts for longevity later.

Why does my credit score matter to insurance companies?


Approximately 20 years ago, insurance companies began using your credit score as one of the many factors in determining the amount of discount they can provide you or possibly surcharge you. Consideration of credit-based insurance scores to predict the likelihood of future claims has been authorized in Washington State (as well as 45 other states) due to its proven effectiveness to help accurately structure insurance policy rates. They do this because they are able to prove a correlation between credit history and claims frequency.

The Insurance Commissioner, nor anyone else, is disputing the credit score correlation. 46 States, now with WA removed, currently use credit score in their rating models.

Insurance Score vs. Credit Score


Many Insurance Companies, most of the ones we write with, use an "insurance score".  What this means is your credit score is combined with multiple other factors to determine your rate.  Those factors determine if you are surcharged off "base rate" or "discounted" off base rate.  Mr. Kreidler removed the industry's ability to provide those discounts or surcharges. This will likely cause a dramatic shift in premium for most of Washington. We'd like to reiterate that the carriers did not ask for this, did not want it, and attempted to stop the order so a more in-depth organized solution could be reached. In that solution, the insurance industry wanted to take care of as many Washingtonians as possible. Some examples of what else is in insurance score would include would be; length of time insured, age, driving activity, how often you change insurance carriers, and much more.

Our Opinion


We agree with the idea of a deep dive into the issue BUT we need to follow a process. The speed at which is order was enacted on the industry gave no time for investigation. Despite many insurance companies wanting to introduce new discounts to offset this increase, the commissioner refused to allow any change except removal of the use of credit to determine rates in this filing. All insurance companies doing business in this state have to have their rates filed and approved by the commissioner's office. Carriers have to resubmit, and it is worth noting his office can take several months or even a year to approve rates, a different filing to offer any discounts to the consumer to try to offset this change. Now, on the other side of the coin, would some possibly see their rates go down? Maybe. We don't know those metrics, which is why we don't disagree with the idea of investigating it. However, we firmly disagree with the 60-day window to put into effect. This change means the insurance consumer who is the least likely to file claims, statically speaking, will be the most impacted by rate increase. Speaking as policyholders ourselves, and representatives on your behalf, we'd like to see more investigation and data.

Yes, we agree with the commissioner, it should be checked out. Just because we've done it this way for 20 years doesn't mean we should let the insurance companies just keep doing it. We should proceed forth in a responsible, educated, systematic approach driven by legislature and lawmakers to get to the bottom of it. That is what was underway prior to March of this year. What we are exceptionally concerned with is the sweeping change without time to investigate how/who it will impact. In fact, it is UNKNOWN if it will even help those it aims to help.

Our Concerns with the Mandate


  1. It unfairly punishes people who have worked their whole lives to maintain good credit. Those with good credit may see substantial increases.
  2. It does not allow for proper investigative time.
  3. It sets a very dangerous precedent that government officials can circumvent the legislative process by creating “emergency mandates”. This issue was already being addressed by the legislative system and plans were underway to come to a resolution.
  4. It is unknown if it will even help the people that it is designed to help. The Commissioner is operating under some assumptions regarding the impact of COVID on credit score. The biggest one being, the assumption that everyone who has been affected by COVID now has poor credit. This concern has yet to be validated with any data.


For these reasons, we believe that this mandate cannot stand. The insurance industry is already fighting (and losing) a battle in court to block this mandate but it will likely not be enough. We urge you to get involved.

So, what can you do?


Be Heard.


Investigate on your own, research both sides, think about your credit score and how it might impact you.


We'd ask that an investigation be done to investigate a more responsible use of credit to allow discounts and surcharges where it makes sense or to see if it makes sense. The time pressure demand  of 60 days to remove it was exceptionally dramatic. Furthermore, many insurance companies want to proceed with other rate changes to help as many consumers as possible while leaving higher rates with those that warrant it.  These changes were not allowed with the first round mandate and may get stalled in clearance for months.

As independent insurance agents there are things we believe should be changed. We work for you, the insurance consumer. If Mr. Kreidler wants to really know how to help the consumer, he should poll the independent insurance agents in this state!  That would be a fantastic way to see both sides of the story. Our goal is to help clients thru the web of insurance, we'd have lots of ideas for his office to check out!

Let your Legislative Representatives know how you feel and ask them to intervene. Find your representatives here. Contact information for Washington State elected officials can be found at https://app.leg.wa.gov/districtfinder/

What You Can Expect From Us


  • We have been preparing our team since the moment we heard this might happen (late March).  As soon as we heard the efforts by the industry for an injunction on the order failed, you can watch the hearing here, which was on 4/23/21 we began ramping up our plans.
  • We are changing our internal workflows to allow a better response to the influx of client rate concerns while allowing time to help new clients as well.
  • We have hired a full-time team member and reallocated current staff duties to help review each client's renewal rates and compare them with the many solid companies we write with.
  • We are implementing a review every renewal process. You will get a text or voice mail from us when your review has started, asking you to engage in the process with us, and results at its completion.
  • We are actively staying involved with our carriers sharing ideas on how to offset these increases and making sure they are doing all they can as well. We do ask of you, to please understand that our team, didn't create this problem. They will try to help solve it for you but while we will do our best to manage the additional load, please be gentle with them! We have a great group here at PNW Insurance and they will do their best to help each of you to the best of their ability. The information they are sharing with you is after we have spent the last two months educating ourselves about this situation and they will do their best to share it with you.

What's Next for the Industry


We aren't sure.  We do know that many of the carriers we work with are very actively diving into new ways to offer discounts to those that have earned it. Additionally, carriers may need to introduce new ways to control exposure to help distribute costs of insurance properly. It is also important to make sure the consumers of Washington still have plenty of choices for their insurance buying needs.  The decreases that are being given out have to be "accounted" for in the long run. We feel confident insurance companies will need to monitor the situation closely and revisions will continue in the next few months and years.


Thank you so much for your time and consideration and please feel free to reach out to us with questions.

With deepest gratitude for your support of our locally owned and operated business,


Kim Peters, Michelle Hancock & Ryan Stueber

Call Email Claims Payments