Steven Weinstein

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Steven Weinstein is a partner in the firm’s Los Angeles office, and serves as chairman of the firm’s executive committee. He has been with the firm since 1979, and has handled a wide-range of complex business litigation and regulatory matters.
Mr. Weinstein’s expertise includes state and federal court class actions, unfair trade practice litigation, and reg- ulatory litigation for property-casualty, workers’ compensation, and life insurance companies. He has represented insurance companies throughout the United States, appearing before many state and federal courts. This representation has included practicing before trial, appellate and supreme courts.
Mr. Weinstein also specializes in administrative law and represents insurers in matters before Departments of Insurance, including matters involving rating practices, unfair claims practices, market conduct examinations, noncompliance orders, orders to show cause, enforcement actions, the development of regulations, and administrative hearings.
Mr. Weinstein has advised insurance companies on many aspects regarding the regulation of insurance, and has lectured on the regulation of insurance, class actions and administrative law. He also has assisted in the drafting of insurance related legislation and has testified before the California legislature on insurance related matters.

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The Federal Fair Credit Reporting Act & State Regulation of Credit Scoring: Chartered & Unchartered Territory for Insurance Companies Post Safeco V. Burr

Co-authored with Marina Karvelas


Two summers ago, in June 2007, the United States Supreme Court issued Safeco Ins. Co. et al. v. Burr, 551 U.S. 47, 127 S.Ct. 2201 (2007). Two years later, Safeco v. Burr, remains a watershed event for insurance companies using credit scoring (or insurance scoring) to assist in underwriting and rating personal insurance policies. As insurance companies re-tool their insurance scoring models or newly enter the field of insurance scoring, they face newly defined obligations under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA”), 15 U.S.C. §§ 1681 et seq. because of Safeco v. Burr

In Safeco v. Burr, the Supreme Court held that: (a) FCRA’s “adverse action” notifications apply to the initial rate offered for new personal insurance, and (b) the trigger for such notification rests not on the failure of the consumer to obtain the “best rate,” but rather, on the insurer’s determination of a “neutral” benchmark. 

This article explores several ramifications of the Safeco v. Burr decision that may require future clarification in the courts. For example, while Safeco v. Burr sets forth a “neutral” benchmark as the standard for determining when an insurance company should issue a notice of “adverse action,” it is unclear how much leeway insurance companies have in determining that “neutral” benchmark.

In addition, several state statutes contain definitions of “adverse action” that expressly require an insurance company to issue notice of “adverse action” in circumstances when the consumer fails to receive the “best rate.” These statutes which potentially conflict with FCRA as interpreted by Safeco v. Burr may be preempted.

Finally, although Safeco v. Burr involved a credit-based consumer report, the holdings in this case could be applied to non credit based consumer reports. If so, insurance companies may be saddled with issuing “adverse action” notices when using C.L.U.E. reports or MVRs when they rate new customers for personal insurance.

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