Bill would allow insurance companies to charge different rates for males, females

HELENA — Montana is the only state in the U.S. that has unisex rates for all insurance. A bill in the Legislature seeks to undo that.

House Bill 379, sponsored by House Majority Leader Sue Vinton, R-Billings, would allow insurance companies to charge different rates for males and females. The bill passed the House of Representatives 70-28 last month before moving to the Senate Business, Labor and Economic Affairs Committee, which held a hearing for the bill Wednesday.

Bob Biskupiak is the deputy insurance commissioner at the Montana State Auditor’s Office, which supports the bill. He said Wednesday that charging one rate for everyone is unfair.

“Why should teenage girls be subsidizing the young male drivers out there,” Biskupiak said.

Biskupiak also said an amendment is coming that would add marital status as an item insurance companies can consider.

Other supporters brought up life insurance rate disparities, especially for women. Dan Sullivan is a member of the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors. 

“For 55-year-olds, on average, the cost for females is 29% more in Montana than any other state,” Sullivan said.

There were 11 supporters and no opponents to the bill in the hearing Wednesday. The committee did not take an immediate vote.