Although the use of credit scores as an underwriting tool for auto and homeowners insurance is now an established practice, consumer groups, legislators and regulators still have not had their final say on the matter.Indeed, state lawmakers across the nation can look forward in 2003 to consideration of numerous measures to curb the practice-and in some cases outright ban it.

"My view is that there is less and less acceptance of it," says Birny Birnbaum, a consumer activist and founder of the Center for Economic Justice. "At first, the insurance industry was saying it was just like any other rating factor and that you don't need to do anything. And then they said we have to do a much better job of educating the public."

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