March 26, 2006
How Insurance Rates Get Set
The Post has a great piece about the various GEICO entities and how they end up setting insurance rates, based on materials GEICO submitted to New Jersey regulators:
The guide looks at an applicant from three perspectives: driving record, personal characteristics and the vehicles to be insured. It appears to seek information beyond a basic application and does not address many standard questions such as miles driven, type of car and gender of driver.
Driving record is mostly what you might expect -- accidents, tickets and other violations, and license suspensions and revocations. But there are some nuances: Recent accidents are considered less favorable than those more than a year old; for families or other applicants with more than one driver, the guide says, "if there is more than one accident, view the risk more favorably if the accidents are spread among the drivers, rather than one driver having multiple accidents."
It goes into quite a bit of detail, including categorization by occupation into five categories. The endpoints:
The guide divides applicants into half a dozen or so "groups" based on occupation and education. "The most favorable occupations" are those in the top two groups plus military personnel above pay grade E-6 (Army staff sergeant) and graduate students.
Group 1, "occupations that have exhibited superior loss experience in the past," generally requires a bachelor's degree or higher, such as accountants, architects, lawyers, teachers, and "professional Federal employees in an administrative or technical position."
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Group 5 includes "minimally skilled clerks, assistants and postal clerks" along with "unskilled and semiskilled blue and gray collar workers," gray collar generally referring to service workers, such as waiters and security guards.
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