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Deirdre Cummings
Legislative Director

Author: Deirdre Cummings

Legislative Director

(617) 747-4319

Started on staff: 1986
B.S., University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Deirdre runs MASSPIRG’s public health, consumer protection and tax and budget programs. Deirdre has led campaigns to protect consumers from identity theft in the wake of massive security breaches at Equifax and Marriot, eliminate unfair pricing practices in disability insurance products, improve public records law and require all state spending to be transparent and available on an easy-to-use website, close $400 million in corporate tax loopholes, protect the state’s retail sales laws to reduce overcharges and preserve price disclosures, reduce costs of health insurance and prescription drugs, and more. Deirdre also oversees a Consumer Action Center in Weymouth, Mass., which has mediated 17,000 complaints and returned $4 million to Massachusetts consumers since 1989. Deirdre currently resides in Maynard, Mass., with her family. Over the years she has visited all but one of the state's 351 towns — Gosnold.

Governor Baker Signs Two Important Consumer Protection Bills

An Act Relative to Consumer Protection from Security Breaches, HB 4806,  will enable consumers to safeguard their personal financial information by allowing them to “freeze” and “thaw” their credit files for free -- preventing thieves from opening new credit accounts in their names, adding into to state statute a provision recently passed by Congress. The law also requires that credit bureaus and other companies give consumers free credit monitoring services after a data breach, and improves consumer notifications among other protections.

Last month Marriott announced a security breach that put more than 500 million customers at risk of identity theft, and months before that Equifax, one of the three largest credit bureaus in the country, announced an especially dangerous breach.

“This is good news and offers consumers new tools to protect themselves from identity theft after a security breach like the recently announced ones at Equifax and Marriott,” said Deirdre Cummings, legislative director for MASSPIRG. “While a good first step, we still have some more work to do to hold companies accountable for failing to properly safeguard our personal information.”

The bill was sponsored by Representative Jennifer Benson (Lunenburg) and Senator Barbara L’Italien (Andover) and House Chair of Consumer Protection, Representative Tacky Chan (Quincy).

More information: https://masspirg.org/news/map/legislature-sends-governor-security-breach-bill

The Equitable Coverage in Disability Insurance, HB 482 requires that all disability insurance policies sold in Massachusetts be gender-neutral in all terms and conditions, including premiums and benefits. If signed the new law will end the current practice of charging women more than men for the same disability insurance policies, bringing private disability policies in line with most other insurance products in the state.

Today, companies selling health insurance, automobile insurance, homeowners’ insurance, workers compensation, annuity policies and even disability policies purchased through employers are prohibited from using gender in rate setting or underwriting criterion. “This is a change that is long overdue, said Deirdre Cummings, MASSPIRG’s legislative director.”

This bill was sponsored by Representative Ruth Balser (Newton) and Senator Jason Lewis (Winchester)

For more information: https://masspirg.org/blogs/blog/map/masspirg-calls-lawmakers-end-unfair-insurance-pricing-practices

 

Deirdre Cummings
Legislative Director

Author: Deirdre Cummings

Legislative Director

(617) 747-4319

Started on staff: 1986
B.S., University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Deirdre runs MASSPIRG’s public health, consumer protection and tax and budget programs. Deirdre has led campaigns to protect consumers from identity theft in the wake of massive security breaches at Equifax and Marriot, eliminate unfair pricing practices in disability insurance products, improve public records law and require all state spending to be transparent and available on an easy-to-use website, close $400 million in corporate tax loopholes, protect the state’s retail sales laws to reduce overcharges and preserve price disclosures, reduce costs of health insurance and prescription drugs, and more. Deirdre also oversees a Consumer Action Center in Weymouth, Mass., which has mediated 17,000 complaints and returned $4 million to Massachusetts consumers since 1989. Deirdre currently resides in Maynard, Mass., with her family. Over the years she has visited all but one of the state's 351 towns — Gosnold.