DCBS news release:

Oregon Division of Financial Regulation encourages consumers to check with their insurance carriers about lowering premiums if credit improves

April 4, 2024

Salem – The Oregon Division of Financial Regulation (DFR) has issued a $200,000 fine against State Farm after the company failed to send notices over the past six years informing its insureds of their ability to request an annual credit check, which could affect their premiums. Half of the total fine will be suspended and waived after three years if State Farm complies with all terms of the final order.

This case serves as an important reminder that Oregon law allows consumers to request an annual rerate from their insurer, which could lead to lower premiums, but will not increase them.

State Farm self-reported the violations to DFR in July 2023, informing the division that notices were not sent out due to a system error. Because of that error, the notification required by ORS 746.650(5) and OAR 836-080-0438 were not sent to customers purchasing new automobile insurance policies between Dec. 5, 2017, and Feb. 23, 2023. Specifically, State Farm did not notify the affected consumers at the inception of their coverage that they may have received a lower rate if their credit history or the credit factors used in their credit-based insurance score were more favorable, and that they had the right to request a rerate of the policy no more than once annually. State Farm notified the division that the issue was corrected on Feb. 23, 2023, for any customers purchasing new policies after that date.

As part of DFR’s final order, State Farm agreed to send a notification to all affected consumers who remain customers of State Farm, approximately 134,690 consumers. State Farm began sending notices on Jan. 2, 2024, through a mailing that is separate and apart from the annual policy renewal documents or any other communication. The mailing also includes a statement that Oregon law requires State Farm to provide a notification to customers at the inception of the policy. All mailings must be completed no later than June 30, 2024.

The division, part of the Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services (DCBS), encourages all consumers to check with their insurance agent or company to see if a credit check would lower their insurance premiums. Consumers are allowed to do a rerate once a year and if their credit improves, their insurance rates may as well. Rerating due to credit may result in either improving or no change to a consumer’s insurance costs, but will not negatively affect it.

“We commend State Farm for self-reporting this violation and taking steps to rectify the situation,” said Andrew R. Stolfi, Oregon’s insurance commissioner and DCBS director. “It is important that Oregon consumers know their rights. State law permits insurance companies to use an individual’s credit history to determine how much they pay for insurance, so it is critically important that consumers know they have the ability to lower their insurance premiums with positive credit.”

Consumers with questions or complaints can contact DFR’s consumer advocates at 888-877-4894 (toll-free) or email dfr.insuranchelp@dcbs.oregon.gov. Consumers can look at their credit reports each calendar year for free by accessing it online, by phone at 877-322-8228 (toll-free), or by completing and mailing the Annual Credit Report Request Form. If any errors are identified, consumers have the right to correct incomplete or inaccurate information with the credit reporting agent that provided the information.

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About Oregon DFR: The Division of Financial Regulation is part of the Department of Consumer and Business Services, Oregon’s largest business regulatory and consumer protection agency. Visit dfr.oregon.gov and  www.dcbs.oregon.gov.​​

Contact information:
Jason Horton, public information officer
503-798-6376
jason.a.horton@dcbs.oregon.gov

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