Are computers discriminating against protected classes?

Linda Lacewell, acting superintendent of the New York State Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) said at a conference on April 12, 2019 she is concerned the complex technology used by banks and insurers to make business decisions could inadvertently discriminate against some consumers.

Ms Lacewell’s comments come as more insurance companies and banks are relying on technology and automation to help make decisions that range from determining auto insurance eligibility and premiums to creditworthiness.

Insurance companies should assess the impact of the algorithms they use and whether the outcomes exclude so-called “protected classes,” Lacewell said. Protected classes are groups of individuals who are eligible for special protection under various US and state laws, such as those prohibiting discrimination based on race, national origin and sexual orientation.