By: Ansell Fernandez, Articles Editor, J.D. Candidate, May 2018, St. Thomas University School of Law.

Abstract

This comment argues that setting auto insurance rates based on socioeconomic factors from a single ZIP Code, as it is now allowed in Florida, may violate Florida law prohibiting the use of race or national origin in calculating premiums. The comment explores historical segregation practices in South Florida that have led to a racially divided community where ZIP Code lines are a good predictor of race and/or national origin. The growth and continued advances in big data are examined to provide further evidence of the power of  technology in successfully predicting who we are and where we come from. The correlation between high insurance rates and the prevalence of uninsured drivers is analyzed. As a solution, an intervenor system is proposed where successful intervenors are reimbursed for their legal costs. It is proposed that the use of socioeconomic factors be outlawed and the use of insurance risk pools larger than a single ZIP Code be used in calculating insurance rates. Finally, it is argued that a system where risk is spread among neighboring communities is more beneficial to the public interest because the negative effects of uninsured drivers is not endemic to a specific area or a particular group of people.