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Around the PIA Western Alliance States

Posted By Administration, Monday, December 18, 2017

California — Auto Policy Moratoriums: This came to Weekly Industry News from California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones.

In response to insurers imposing moratoriums on writing new private passenger auto policies or prohibiting additions to existing auto policies in the Southern California wildfire areas, Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones issued a formal notice to insurers directing them to cease any and all moratoriums on auto insurance and reminding them that California law prohibits this practice.

Proposition 103 and regulations issued by the commissioner require insurers to write private passenger auto coverage for any consumer who qualifies as a good driver.

"Buying new auto coverage or changing your auto insurance coverage any time before you experience a loss is your right as a good driver," said Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones.  "I am committed to making sure consumers' rights are protected, which is why I issued a notice to all property and casualty insurers writing private passenger auto directing them to stop any and all moratoriums on auto insurance and reminding them that such moratoriums and restrictions are prohibited under California Law."

Consumers are urged to contact the California Department of Insurance if their insurer, agent or broker tells them they will not write a new policy or allow changes to an existing auto policy. The toll-free number is

800-927-4357.

In a second action taken to help Southland wildfire victims, Commissioner Jones issued a notice to insurers asking them to agree to expedite wildfire claims handling and adopt a billing grace period.

Most insurers agreed to the commissioner's request to follow expedited claims handling procedures after the October wildfires in Northern California. The commissioner expects insurers to agree to these procedures for the Southern California wildfires.

With thousands of homes damaged and destroyed by wildfires blazing across the state, residents face the long and painful task of recovery, which often includes trying to reconstruct destroyed or missing documents.

In an effort to speed recovery, Commissioner Jones asked insurers with policyholders in the areas hit by fires to agree to claims handling procedures to bring more timely payments and flexibility with some of the deadlines and documentation typically required by insurers.

"These fires are exacting a devastating emotional and financial toll on residents across the state," said Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones. "Victims need every resource available to them as quickly as possible, which is why I am asking California insurers to adopt these expedited claims handling procedures to get help to policyholders. I strongly encourage California insurers to adopt these procedures to help fire victims begin to put their lives back together."

After destructive wildfires, policyholders often find much of what the insurance company needs to process their claim are missing or were destroyed in the fire, such as home inventories, receipts, bills of sale, and vehicle ownership papers. Under the commissioner's expedited claims handling procedures, policyholders may receive advance payment for up to four months of additional living expenses, 25 percent of policy limits for personal property, and an expedited process for debris removal-a first step in rebuilding.

These procedures speed payment for damaged or destroyed vehicles and provide at least 30 days billing leniency for lost renewal notices or those who do not have the ability to have mail forwarded.

Policyholders should contact their insurance company and insurance agent to begin the claims process. They may also contact the Department of Insurance Consumer hotline at 800-927-4357 to seek assistance or visit the Department's website for tips and advice.

 

Idaho — Idaho Commissioner on Compact Board: The Interstate Insurance Product Regulation Commission has elected new officers at its annual meeting. One of those on the board is Idaho Insurance Commissioner Dean Cameron. He will serve as treasurer next year.

The board also adopted a budget and showed off the new enhanced website.

Here is how the compact defines itself: The IIPRC enables state insurance regulators to develop uniform national standards for asset protection insurance products, such as life insurance, annuities, disability income and long-term care insurance. The IIPRC establishes a central filing point for these insurance products, enhancing the speed and efficiency of regulatory decisions and allowing companies to compete more effectively in the modern financial marketplace, while continuing to provide protection for consumers.

Cameron said he’s proud to work with the compact toward that end.

“We are committed to continue delivering on our promise to remain revenue-neutral to state budgets, while providing superior member services to the compacting states and excellent customer service to industry filers. Working through the Insurance Compact we can embrace meaningful uniformity while and at the same time maintain state sovereignty of our marketplaces,” Cameron said.

Currently 45 jurisdictions have joined the Interstate Insurance Product Regulation Commission (IIPRC). They include the PIA Western Alliance states of Idaho, Alaska Arizona, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon and Washington.

The only PIA Western Alliance state that does not belong is California.

 

Oregon — Changes at the DCBS: Oregon Gov. Kate Brown has appointed Cameron Smith as the director of the Department of Consumer and Business Services (DCBS), Oregon’s largest business regulatory and consumer protection agency.

Pending Senate confirmation, Smith replaces Patrick Allen, who left DCBS in August to be the director of the Oregon Health Authority.

Smith comes to DCBS from the Oregon Department of Veterans’ Affairs (ODVA), where he took the helm as director in 2013. From 2009 to 2013, Smith served as senior policy advisor to Governors John Kitzhaber and Ted Kulongoski, managing a portfolio that covered both veterans’ affairs and public safety issues. Before state government, Smith served five years in the United States Marine Corps as a captain, completing three tours of duty in Iraq. He is a graduate of Carleton College in Minnesota.

Smith’s first day as DCBS director is Dec. 21.

Meanwhile, the Department of Consumer and Business Services has hired Andrew Stolfi as the administrator of the Division of Financial Regulation.

Stolfi’s first day at DCBS will be Feb. 1.

Stolfi is currently the chief operating officer and chief counsel at the International Association of Insurance Supervisors (IAIS) in Basel, Switzerland. In these roles, he is responsible for leading and managing the operations, legal, communication, finance, risk management, and human resources functions of the association. He is also an advisor to the IAIS Executive Committee and helps lead strategic planning and stakeholder engagement activities.

Stolfi replaces Laura Cali, who is now the chief financial officer at the Oregon Health Authority.

“We are pleased that Andrew is coming to DCBS,” said DCBS Acting Director Jean Straight. “His passion for consumer protection, leadership, and experience with state and international regulation perfectly aligns with the values and mission of DCBS and the Division of Financial Regulation.”

Before joining the IAIS in 2012, Stolfi served in various senior management roles at the Illinois Department of Insurance, including acting director, chief of staff, and special counsel for policy and legislative affairs.

He received a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Vermont and a law degree from Chicago-Kent College of Law.

 

Oregon — From the Oregon Division of Financial Regulation: The Oregon Division of Financial Regulation recently adopted the following rule. ID 12-2017: Health benefit plan coverage of health services necessary to combat disease outbreak or epidemic

Amend: OAR 836-053-0418

Clarifies the definition of “insurer” found within 2017 OR Laws, ch 719, §2 (Enrolled House Bill 3276) to confirm this law’s applicability to health care service contractors and multiple employer welfare arrangements authorized to transact insurance or offer health benefits in the state of Oregon.

Filed: December 08, 2017

Effective: December 08, 2017

For more information, please visit the Division's website:

http://dfr.oregon.gov/laws-rules/Pages/adopted-rules.aspx

 

Oregon — New Driving Laws: From the Oregon Department of Transportation. New laws for Oregon drivers take effect in 2018

In addition to passing a major transportation funding package, the 2017 Oregon Legislature passed a handful of other laws that will affect drivers and vehicle owners. Most will take effect Jan. 1, 2018.

 

Crash reporting

As of Jan. 1, you will not need to report a fender bender if the damage is under $2,500. This is an increase from the $1,500 threshold that had been in place since 2004.

Senate Bill 35 is raising the threshold to reflect the increase in cost to repair vehicles. In recent years, many reports submitted to DMV because of the $1,500 threshold have been for minor crashes, consuming staff time that would be better used for focusing on more serious incidents.

ODOT uses crash data to make informed decisions on how to prioritize engineering the safety of highway and road facilities, and to help provide focus for traffic enforcement resources. Raising the threshold helps focus crash data on incidents that involve fatalities, injuries and serious property damage.

You must report a vehicle crash to DMV within 72 hours if:

* Damage to any vehicle is over $2,500 ($1,500 through Dec. 31, 2017);

* Any vehicle is towed from the scene;

* Injury or death resulted from this incident; or

* Damages to property other than a vehicle involved in the crash is more than $2,500 ($1,500 through Dec. 31, 2017).

 

Another changes:

Senate Bill 930 allows the owner of a vehicle to black out or obscure the residence address, business address, mailing address or vehicle address shown on the registration card and on proof of insurance or other current proof of compliance carried in the vehicle.

 

Hardship permits

Senate Bill 252 allows a person with a hardship permit to apply to drive for the purposes of participating in gambling addiction treatment. This bill applies to hardship permits issued on or after Jan. 1, 2018.

 

Three-wheel vehicle driver testing

As of Jan. 1, a licensed Oregon driver will not need to take a drive test to receive an endorsement on their license to drive some three-wheeled motorcycles.

Under Senate Bill 36, this change applies only to three-wheeled vehicles that operate much like a four-wheeled car. The vehicles affected may be defined as motorcycles under Oregon law but are operated more like a car than a motorcycle – with a steering wheel instead of handlebars, for example.

 

Ex-POW vehicle plates

House Bill 2149 changes the registration for Ex-POW vehicle plates to permanent registration. New applicants for Ex-POW registration will pay a one-time registration fee of $15, plus the plate manufacturing fee. Persons who have current Ex-POW registration as of Jan. 1, 2018, will not be required to pay a renewal fee.

 

Crater Lake plate surcharge

House Bill 2922 increases the surcharge for Crater Lake license plates from $10 per plate to $15 per plate as of Jan. 1, 2018. The Crater Lake fee supports the Oregon Community Foundation for use on projects at Crater Lake National Park.

Any time you need to visit a DMV office, first check www.OregonDMV.com to find office hours, locations, and current wait times at our larger offices. You also can do some DMV business from home – renew your vehicle registration, file a change of address, or file notice of the sale of your vehicle online without getting in line at an office.

 

Oregon — Driver Safety: The Oregon Department of Transportation issued this advisory.

Beginning Jan. 1, drivers will be required to move over to another lane or slow down by at least five miles an hour below the posted speed for any vehicle stopped next to the side of the road displaying hazard lights or other signs of distress. Under the current law, drivers have to move over (or if unable to move over safely, to slow down) only for an emergency vehicle, a roadside assistance vehicle, a tow vehicle or ambulance, when it is displaying warning lights.

The new law makes it clear that drivers have a choice to comply by either moving over or slowing down by at least five miles an hour below the posted speed; and now the law applies when approaching any vehicle at the side of the road displaying hazard lights or distress signs. The offense remains a Class B traffic violation.

ODOT introduced Senate Bill 34 as a means to increase safety for motorists stopped along Oregon’s highways by expanding the scope of the law to include all stopped motor vehicles displaying hazard lights or indicating distress. Between 2011 and 2015 in Oregon, there were 167 serious crashes and eight people died in incidents where a vehicle was parked on the side of the road and there was no emergency vehicle with lights on involved. During that same time frame, in incidents where an emergency vehicle with lights on was aiding a motorist, there were just six serious crashes and no fatalities.

The bill states a person is not in violation of the move over law if the stopped motor vehicle is in a designated parking area.

Tags:  Around the PIA Western Alliance States  Insurance Content  Insurance Industry  Insurance News  Weekly Industry News 

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