Redlining

Redlining is the practice of arbitrarily denying or limiting financial services to specific neighborhoods, generally because its residents are people of color or are poor. 

- Encyclopedia of Chicago: Redlining


For many years, low- and moderate-income and minority families experienced "redlining": discrimination in banking, lending, and access to insurance policies based solely on the neighborhood where they lived, with no consideration to property value or credit-worthiness.


Redlining in Insurance

By 1996, a series of studies by ACORN, the National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA), and the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) had found that insurers were refusing to write policies in certain areas and for certain income brackets. The Philadelphia Office of Housing and Community Development (OHCD) cited this lack of ability to insure homes as a major impediment to access to fair housing in the city.

Insurance companies used several excuses for refusing to write policies, including too low a property value, and often claimed that they didn't insure flat-roofed housing structures - the building style which makes up most of urban  Philadelphia.  They also refused to insure homes on blocks with vacant or unoccupied buildings - but only in certain neighborhoods.  Predominantly white and suburban neighborhoods experienced no such difficulties.

In 1996, ACORN teamed up with the Prudential Property and Casualty Company to offer affordable and properly designed insurance policies to low-and moderate-income homeowners in urban areas of Philadelpha.  



More information about redlining:

Interactive Redlining Map Zooms In On America's History Of Discrimination (Camila Domonoske, NPR, 19 October 2016)

Redlining: Still a Thing (Emily Badger, The Washington Post, 28 May 2015)

The Racist Housing Policy That Made Your Neighborhood (Alexis C. Madrigal, The Atlantic, 22 May 2014)

1934–1968: FHA Mortgage Insurance Requirements Utilize Redlining (The Fair Housing Center of Greater Boston)

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