The Agent’s Advocate – February 6, 2023

Wildfire Bills Receive First Hearing

Today the Senate Committee On Natural Resources heard two wildfire-related bills.  To listen, go to Oregon Legislative Video (  Both bills are placeholders and will be replaced with amendments.

SB 82

Prohibits insurance company from using statewide map of wildfire risk as basis for canceling policy or increasing premium.

Andrew Stolfi, DCBS Director, testified extensively about how insurers treat wildfire risks, DCBS studies, and provisions of the coming amendment which is still being worked out with the insurance industry.  His presentation can be found at PowerPoint Presentation (

Several of the insurance company trades testified, saying that they are willing to work cooperatively with the legislature and DCBS but that the details are important to maintain a stable and deep competitive insurance market in Oregon.

SB 509

Requires State Forestry Department to study community-based programs for reducing wildfire risk.  The first amendment has been released (sounds like there will be further amendments) is found at:

This bill establishes a community risk reduction program that includes a neighborhood protection cooperative program and a grant program to provide home hardening financial assistance.  Although the State Fire Marshall is currently the agency assigned to do that work, that responsibility will probably change to DCBS’s Building Codes Division.

There was a lot of varied testimony; written testimony can be accessed at: SB509 2023 Regular Session – Oregon Legislative Information System (

Work on both bills will continue as the legislative session continues.

Prescribed Fire Liability Bills and Study

On 1/25/2023 the House Committee On Climate, Energy, and Environment held an overview of prescribed fires and insurance availability and affordability.  DCBS testified that there was a small number of insurance companies who covered prescribed burns by not having any exclusions for it, about 7 companies and their affiliates.  Coverage is mostly found in farming, ranching, logging related policies with a wide range of premiums. 

Click here for copy of the Division of Financial Regulation’s study on prescribed fire liability.

In the hearing on HB 2985 and HB 2986, Dylan Kruse, Vice President, Sustainable Northwest testified in support:

These proposals incorporate a $10 million fund for prescribed burns and grant program. They are also intended to incentivize insurers to cover these exposures.

Forest Industry Council and Oregon Small Woodlands Association supported the bills but said they would not solve the entire problem, and detailed all the other regulations that control prescribed burning.  Sen. Golden also testified along with other witnesses.

Congressman Bentz Named Chair of Water, Wildlife, and Fisheries

Congressman Cliff Bentz has been appointed to chair the Water, Wildlife, and Fisheries Subcommittee of the House Natural Resources Committee.  This is potentially great news for Oregon, given the importance of these resources for our state.  

Legislative Bills Still Being Released

Many more legislative bills are currently being released. February 21st is the deadline for bills that have been drafted to be formally filed for introduction.  PIA will publish a revised version of our bill list as it progresses.

Lana Butterfield
PIA Oregon Lobbyist
P.O. Box 1517
Wilsonville, OR  97070
503/819-5800 cell

About PIA Western Alliance

The Professional Insurance Agents Western Alliance is a membership organization promoting and enhancing the success of independent agencies seeking to grow, learn and be heard within the industry.


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