California — Uber & Lyft
Two court cases, two ridesharing services, two different results.
First Uber. A lawsuit by Uber drivers against the company for violating California’s labor code and aimed at redefining the company’s business model, has the company offering drivers a settlement. The deal — rejected by Superior Court Judge Maren Nelson — is $7.75 million and would have given each driver about $1.08.
An earlier settlement was rejected by a federal judge. Most of the money in the proposed settlement would go to the state and to administrative costs and lawyer fees.
The suit seeks $100 million.
In federal court, U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria approved a $27 million settlement between drivers and Lyft. He had earlier rejected a proposal of a $12.25 million settlement.
The drivers say they are employees and not contractors and as such should get expenses like insurance and gasoline reimbursed.
Source links: Insurance Journal — link 1, link 2
Oregon — PIA Testifies SB 774
The Oregon Legislature is considering passage of a bill to prohibit insurers from imposing fees, surcharges, increases in premiums and other charges based on the claims history of an insured.
A hearing on the bill was held in the Senate Transportation Committee and PIA Oregon Lobbyist Lana Butterfield testified on behalf of the association. This is her testimony.
The Professional Insurance Agents of Oregon/Idaho (PIA) is opposed to SB 774. It is unnecessary. It doesn’t follow basic risk-based insurance pricing. It will force low risk-of-loss policyholders to subsidize the insurance rates of high risk-of-loss policyholders.
Insurance rates are based upon the consumer’s personal risk of loss exposure. SB 774 would prevent the rating of the true risk of a homeowner at renewal time, because the policyholder’s premium could never be increased based upon his/her claims loss history. Claims history is a clearly relevant for insurers to use in risk-based pricing of insurance products.
SB 774 would fundamentally alter homeowner’s insurance rating and pricing to the detriment of most insurance consumers. This especially affects low risk-of-loss consumers, who don’t have an extensive claims exposure history because they take care of their homes. They would end having to subsidize the rates of the high claims exposure history consumers.
Essentially the proposed legislation would require insurers to have to reward high risk-of-loss policyholders with artificially reduced premiums and punish low risk-of-loss policyholders with increased premiums necessary to subsidize the high risk-of-loss policyholders.
Most of what is proposed in SB 774 is already in place via the Homeowners Bill of Rights that was implemented in 2006 via Senate Bill 118:
• Limits to five years the period in which insurance companies can “look back” on consumers’ claims histories, thus putting a limit on the time for which a consumer can be “penalized” for past losses.
• Prohibits insurers from treating inquiries by policyholders as claims, thus protecting consumers’ rights to seek information from their insurer and decide whether to file claims.
• Restricts mid-term policy cancellations by the insurer to policyholder fraud, misrepresentation, nonpayment, violation of terms or conditions, and substantial increases in risk of loss after insurance coverage has been issued.
• Prohibits insurers from canceling or not renewing policies for the first claim in a five-year period, which protects consumers from losing their insurance for filing a claim.
• Requires insurers to provide at least 30 days’ notice of policy renewal or nonrenewal.
• Prohibits insurers from using claims made under prior ownership to cancel or not renew policies or increase rates when the cause of the past claims is shown to be mitigated.
PIA encourages you to VOTE NO on SB 774, because good personal risk-of-loss insurance consumers should not be punished by being forced to subsidize high risk-of-loss insurance consumers. It is unnecessary given what has already in the law and complicating.
Oregon — Agent Shoots & Kills Homeless Man
Portland, Oregon insurance agency owner Charlie Win Chan shot and killed a homeless man who police say attacked him at his Golden Key Insurance office.
Police investigated and the Grand Jury says the shooting of Jason Gerald Peterson was justified and he will not be prosecuted.
Peterson — it is said — suffered from schizophrenia. He was hoarding items outside of Chan’s office and became upset when Chan disposed of them. Peterson then — police said — threatened to kill Chan and burn down his business.
A confrontation led to Chan firing the fatal shot.
Source link: Insurance Business America
Oregon — Department of Insurance
The Oregon Division of Financial Regulation recently adopted the following rule:
ID 03-2017: Definition of Small Employer
Amend: OAR 836-053-0015
ORS 743B.020 requires the Department to adopt by rule the method for determining whether an employer is a small employer for purposes of group health benefit plans. ORS 743B.005 links the definition of "small employer" to a federal definition that currently defines a small employer as an employer having at least one but not more than 50 employees, but allows the department to further modify that definition in accordance with guidance issued by three federal agencies. The federal law also includes an option that allows states to define small employer as an employer with 1 to 100 employees.
The Department defines small employers in OAR 836-053-0015 as those with "an average of at least one but not more than 50 employees on business days during the preceding calendar year and who employs at least one employee on the first day of the plan year." This definition is applicable from January 1, 2016 through December 31, 2017.
The amendments would abolish the sunset provision and maintain the current definition of small employer indefinitely.
Adopted: March 9, 2017
Effective: March 9, 2017
For more information, please visit the Division's website:
Oregon — Dam Retrofit
The dam at Hyatt Lake near Ashland is leaking. And with the crisis of the Oroville Dam in California, officials got enough attention to pick up $3.7 million for a seismic retrofit.
Washington — Hanford Plant Demolition Continues
A major plutonium plant at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation is being decommissioned and torn down. Or it was until radioactive contamination was found in the rubble.
The pile has been cleaned up and the project is now continuing.