Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co. agreed Tuesday to spend $3 million to resolve charges that it refused to serve black neighborhoods in Toledo.

As part of the 54-page deal, the insurer agreed to stop basing insurance decisions on the age of dwellings and requiring houses to be worth a minimum amount to qualify for coverage.

The settlement stems from a 1993 discrimination suit filed by the Toledo Fair Housing Center.

Nationwide denied any wrongdoing, saying it settled to avoid an expensive trial. "Nationwide has always been committed to fair and nondiscriminatory business practices," president Richard D. Crabtree said in a prepared statement.

Two-thirds of the settlement will be spent to compensate individuals, and the rest will be split between a fair-housing charity and home improvements in the community. The company also will offer $500,000 in low- interest home-improvement loans to those said to have been victims.

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