The National Council of Insurance Legislators (NCOIL) hosted their summer meeting in Boston, Massachusetts, on July 14 -17, 2021. The organization provides education to its state legislator members whose main area of public policy concern is insurance legislation and regulation. More than 300 legislators were registered in attendance.
The American Kennel Club Government Relations Department (AKC GR) was also there with an informational table to educate lawmakers about the mischaracterization of certain breeds that results in discriminatory homeowner insurance policies. Some insurers refuse to issue or renew - or may cancel or raise premiums - for a homeowner based on the breed of dog owned.
AKC believes that insurance companies should determine coverage of a dog-owning household based on the dog’s deeds, not the dog’s breed. If a dog is a well-behaved member of the household and the community, there is no reason to deny or cancel coverage. In fact, insurance companies should consider a dog an asset, a natural alarm system whose bark may deter intruders and prevent potential theft.
Research shows that a dog’s breed is not an accurate predictor of behavior. Moreover, a dog’s breed often cannot be determined merely by looking at it. AKC GR demonstrated these points to NCOIL members by providing an analysis of Massachusetts’ 2020 data on reported dog claims. In addition to literature about AKC and this topic, a meet-and-greet with two therapy dogs—a German Shephard and Rottweiler—proved to be popular draws to AKC’s both on Thursday afternoon.
Both Nevada and New York passed laws this year prohibiting insurance discrimination against dog owners of certain breeds. In addition to AKC GR, these bills were supported by Best Friends Animal Society and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, which also exhibited at the NCOIL meeting to promote similar policy solutions to this problematic practice.