On May 1, 2019, Joshua Rivera (MPP ’17), a researcher with U-M’s Poverty Solutions, testified 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 whether and how auto-related expenses vary drastically among socioeconomic groups.
Chairman Al Green (D-TX) opened the hearing, beginning by stating discriminatory differences in auto loans for populations like African-American males and middle-age women, also revealing that auto loans constitute the “third largest household debt category.” When it was time for Rivera’s opening statement, he delved into these discrepancies more deeply.
Referring to results found through his work at Poverty Solutions, Rivera discussed the shockingly high auto insurance rates in Michigan. Michigan has the most expensive auto insurance in the U.S., Rivera explained, some that are almost double the national average. But rates are rising across the nation, and the burden is greater for lower income and people experiencing poverty, particularly if they live in rural areas. “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,” he stated.
Rivera ended his statement by calling on congress to prohibit auto insurers from using non-driving factors for setting premiums, which has been done successfully in California and Hawaii. “With sensible reforms,” Rivera stated, “transportation costs can be lowered.”
To watch the full hearing, click here.