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Are American Car Insurers Discriminating Against Immigrants?

 
 
tsarstepan
 
  1  
Reply Mon 31 Dec, 2012 12:42 pm
@maxdancona,
maxdancona wrote:

Let's start an insurance company. There should be enough low risk immigrants to make it profitable.


I'll be your CEO and by that I mean Chief Embezzling Officer like all major conglomerate CEO's.
0 Replies
 
Mame
 
  1  
Reply Mon 31 Dec, 2012 06:05 pm
@tsarstepan,
In Alberta, new residents must provide a copy of their prior driving record in order not to be treated as within the 21-25 age group. This is easily done; simply a written request to the powers-that-be, or in my case, ICBC. They can email it to you or pop it in the mail. Surely that would be Thomas' most expedient method.
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Thu 3 Jan, 2013 05:41 am
@tsarstepan,
tsarstepan wrote:
If on the other hand, they are not given access to this database of driver's history then your word that you have a spotless driving history that they can not verify.

They'd also have an official printout from the agency maintaining the database. So it's not just my word.

I think Joefromchicago is probably right, and it's mostly laziness. On a slight tangent to the car insurance issue, I had a credit card from Citibank Germany before I moved, and my first account in the US was with Citibank USA. All Citibank USA had to do was call their own office in Germany and ask about my credit record. (I gave the Americans permission to ask, and the Germans permission to tell.) They flat-out refused to go there, and ended up not giving me an American credit card when I really could have used one.
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Thu 3 Jan, 2013 05:48 am
@Mame,
Mame, that's exactly what I had in mind. Maybe I'll emigrate to Alberta and do that.
0 Replies
 
Finn dAbuzz
 
  2  
Reply Thu 3 Jan, 2013 03:57 pm
@tsarstepan,
You're assuming that a driving record in a foreign country is a predictor of driving behaviors in the US.

It would be very wise for a UK insurer to consider the unfamiliarity of an American Ex-Pat driving on the left over whatever his US driving records may have been.

The difference is much more pronounced between the US and the UK than between the US and Germany, but why should US insurers assume there are not more subtle but influential differences?

As for using the "honor system," I think you're living in the fantasy land of the movies you so love.

0 Replies
 
Finn dAbuzz
 
  3  
Reply Thu 3 Jan, 2013 04:11 pm
@Thomas,
Laziness?

I doubt it.

More like there isn't a lot of money to be made selling insurance to foreign born Americans.

There are specialty markets for just about any affinity group you can think of...providing they can make some one money.

Perhaps the foreign born market can be profitable, but it sounds like no one thinks it is. If you haven't already, try googling something like "insurance for foreign born Americans." if there's a market, someone will be trying to make money from it.

But let's assume that there is an untapped market that could be very profitable. You don't need to start and insurance company to serve it and make money.

Become an insurance agent and direct business to insurance companies. Make a point of specializing in foreign born American risks (FBAR) Collect data on your book's losses. If at some point you have the data to show that FBARs are an attractive class of business and that you have access to a large segment of them, you can present an insurer with a FBAR program. You'll get to keep something like 20% or more of the premium without taking any of the risk. Your biggest costs will be IT and low salary customer service reps.

Hard to imagine a foreign born American agent hasn't already thought of this but you never know.
ossobuco
 
  2  
Reply Thu 3 Jan, 2013 04:15 pm
@Thomas,
My take is that the powers that be have no sense at hand about the variances in "foreigner" drivers and their records.

I, with a sparkling california record, she says, twinkling, would crash within a block in many world cities.

I heard a lot of despairing and disdainful comments, probably fractionally based on reality, about the influx of asian drivers in Orange County, CA, some years ago now. Fraught anecdotes galore.

I was fine driving Tuscany, or so I thought, but was no way going to try Roma. At my very best, I'd have been a runover bug on the autobahn.

Whatever the other aspects of the arguments re driving history in the world's countries, I take it as complex for another country to judge.

I agree with Thomas that someone like him with a good record in a country like Germany is really aced out, apparently stupidly.
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Thu 3 Jan, 2013 04:17 pm
@Thomas,
Now that is nonsense that that can happen, to me.
Doesn't CitiB talk with itself?
Break it up then.
0 Replies
 
Finn dAbuzz
 
  1  
Reply Thu 3 Jan, 2013 04:31 pm
@ossobuco,
Fraught anecdotes but they strike a familiar and well appreciated chord of dark American clouds of racism and xenophobia, so why not throw them out there?
ossobuco
 
  2  
Reply Thu 3 Jan, 2013 04:45 pm
@Finn dAbuzz,
Hey, that was understood in my post, if you didn't read me antagonistically - but, there were also wacky-to-orange county-drivers. No, I haven't looked at police/highway patrol records.

We can be more than racist, somehow pastorial. A friend at work was how I got to know some later number of vietnamese in Los Angeles. She married an exuberant american guy who gave her a car for a present. It was a Cadillac. It was too big for her, by a mile. I won't mock that, I think they loved each other, but the car thing shows the disconnect.





Finn dAbuzz
 
  2  
Reply Thu 3 Jan, 2013 04:47 pm
@ossobuco,
Green lizards find it unctuous to draw comparisons with Italy.
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Thu 3 Jan, 2013 04:49 pm
@Finn dAbuzz,
Is that a riddle?
Finn dAbuzz
 
  3  
Reply Thu 3 Jan, 2013 04:57 pm
@ossobuco,
No, an approximation of one of your posts.
ossobuco
 
  2  
Reply Thu 3 Jan, 2013 05:00 pm
@Finn dAbuzz,
I know my post. I was reporting.
I suppose that is a new matter to you.

I think Orange County, California, long before some tv show, dealt with a lot of this stuff. There are plenty of views, books, about it all. The people I knew there tended to be to the right of the american schema (you will probably remember that is not my way), and yes, they made fun of asians in cars. I figure they were right sometimes - it isn't easy to learn to drive in a whole new country.



0 Replies
 
Thomas
 
  2  
Reply Fri 4 Jan, 2013 01:52 am
@Finn dAbuzz,
Finn dAbuzz wrote:
Become an insurance agent and direct business to insurance companies. Make a point of specializing in foreign born American risks (FBAR) Collect data on your book's losses. If at some point you have the data to show that FBARs are an attractive class of business and that you have access to a large segment of them, you can present an insurer with a FBAR program. You'll get to keep something like 20% or more of the premium without taking any of the risk. Your biggest costs will be IT and low salary customer service reps.

That does sound like a good idea. If my research on Joe's and ehBeth's suggestion reveals that no agents are catering to this niche yet, I should look into that.
Finn dAbuzz
 
  1  
Reply Sat 5 Jan, 2013 01:15 am
@Thomas,
You'll have something if there is a sizeable FBAR market, and you can demonstrate that for whatever reason they will:

1) Produce lower losses than normal
2) Accept higher premiums

If you can demonstrate both you will make lots of money.

You don't need to just prove that FBARS have a better claims history than native borns. #2 is actually more important.

You've found that as a FBAR you are charged higher rates than you deem reasonable. If this is the case, chances are that there are many more FBARS who feel as you do.

Gathering them all together in an affinity group that at least acknowledges that they are getting screwed but promises to try and fight for them will give you clout with insurance companies.

This won't be a short term project however.

You should also think about what, if any, peculiar consideration or requirements FBARS have concerning insurance.

Obviously having customer reps who speak a variety of foreign languages will be necessary.

My bet is that FBARS feel that they are neglected segment of our society and will easily be attracted to a production source that can connect with them on a personal level.

Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Sat 5 Jan, 2013 04:58 am
@Finn dAbuzz,
Finn dAbuzz wrote:
If you can demonstrate both you will make lots of money.

. . . unless competitors seize my newly-discovered market right after I've done the research for them. That's what tends to happen in the tech sector unless you mine the field with patents first. But that doesn't seem to be an option in the insurance market. It's not as if the insights from my market research would enjoy intellectual-property protection of any kind. Nevertheless, thanks for the idea.
0 Replies
 
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Wed 10 Jul, 2013 11:47 pm
Update half a year later: It appears the discrimination in this case wasn't against foreigners after all. It was against loyal customers. By switching providers on January 8, then switching back on July 8, I cut my semi-annual premium from $1000 to $350. So my advice to any immigrants who might read this is: Don't be a loyal customer! They'll only fleece you if you are.
roger
 
  1  
Reply Thu 11 Jul, 2013 12:21 am
@Thomas,
That is kind of interesting.
0 Replies
 
 

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