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Brokers accuse insurance firm of ‘redlining’ in Baltimore

January 15, 2021 GMT

BALTIMORE (AP) — Three insurance brokers in Maryland have filed complaints that accuse Erie Insurance of “redlining” in predominantly Black neighborhoods in Baltimore.

The Baltimore Sun reports that the brokerage firms filed separate complaints of discrimination this week with the Maryland Insurance Administration.

The firms included Baltimore Insurance Network LLC of Bowie, Ross Insurance Agency of Windsor Mill and Welsch Insurance Group of Baltimore. All have or have had contracts with Erie as agents to sell policies.

Erie underwrites policies sold by the firms. And they’ve accused the company of denying services to residents of certain neighborhoods based on race or ethnicity.

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“Erie Insurance brokerages that serve Baltimore, and in particular that serve the poor areas of Baltimore which are predominately African American, are being told that even when customers meet their underwriting standards and when they would otherwise qualify, Erie is not interested in certain customers,” said Cary J. Hansel, an attorney for Baltimore Insurance.

An Erie Insurance Group spokesman said the firm is yet to be formally notified of the filings. But he said the company will address any complaints with the state insurance administration.

“Erie Insurance’s underwriting practices comply with all Maryland state insurance laws and regulations,” the spokesman, Matthew M. Cummings, said in an email. “We are committed to the equitable treatment of all prospective and existing customers and maintaining fair and equitable business standards.”