California — Lara Orders Insurance Protection for Fire Victims: As the Oak Fire continues to threaten homeowners, Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara ordered insurance companies to preserve residential insurance coverage for the entire county of Mariposa after Governor Gavin Newsom issued an emergency declaration on July 23. The Commissioner’s Bulletin shields those properties within the perimeter or in adjacent ZIP Codes of the Oak Fire from insurance non-renewal or cancellation for one year from the date of the Governor’s July 23 declaration regardless of whether they suffered a loss. The Oak Fire has currently destroyed 124 homes and 66 outbuildings.
“Homeowners should not have to scramble to find fire insurance while suffering the effects of a wildfire,” said Commissioner Lara. “By taking this immediate action and forbidding insurance companies from issuing non-renewals and cancellations for one year, Mariposa County homeowners will have more time to get back on their feet. This is one part of a larger solution for consumers that includes working to expand insurance protections and increasing market competition to help protect consumers.”
Commissioner Lara’s ability to issue moratoriums is a result of a California law he authored in 2018 while serving as state senator in order to provide temporary relief from insurance non-renewals and cancellations to residents living within or adjacent to a gubernatorial-declared wildfire disaster.
Today’s moratorium order includes 11 ZIP codes impacting an estimated 8,000 residential policyholders and the entire county of Mariposa. Some policyholders in Madera and Merced counties are also affected.
Department staff are currently at the Local Assistance Center at Mariposa County High School assisting affected homeowners with their insurance questions. Consumers can go to the Department of Insurance website to see if their ZIP Code is included in the moratorium. Consumers should contact the Department of Insurance at 800-927-4357 or via chat or email at insurance.ca.gov if they believe their insurance company is in violation of this law, or have additional claims-related questions.
The Commissioner’s action is part of a larger solution he is pursuing for consumers and wildfire survivors that includes working to increase insurance protections and market competition to help protect consumers. Commissioner Lara’s actions since taking office in 2019 include:
Announced “Safer from Wildfires,” a new insurance framework that incorporates wildfire safety measures to help save lives while making homes and businesses more resilient. Safer from Wildfires was created by a first-ever partnership between the Department of Insurance and the emergency and preparedness agencies in Governor Newsom’s Administration, including CAL FIRE, the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (CalOES), the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research, and the California Public Utilities Commission.
Proposed new regulations to incorporate Safer from Wildfires in insurance pricing, driving down costs for consumers who have taken actions to protect their communities while increasing transparency about their home’s or business’s “wildfire risk score.”
Sponsored new insurance protections signed into law by Governor Newsom — despite opposition from insurance companies — that will mean larger payouts for some consumer claims, less red tape from insurance companies, and more help for people under evacuation orders.
Ordered the FAIR Plan, the state’s insurer of last resort, to offer a more comprehensive homeowners policy as an option, which a judge recently upheld, as well as expanding residential and commercial coverage limits for the first time in 25 years to keep pace with increased costs.
Following Governor Newsom’s state of emergency declaration, the Department of Insurance partners with the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) and the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (CalOES), pursuant to existing statute, to identify wildfire perimeters for mandatory moratorium areas. The Department of Insurance will continue to collaborate with CAL FIRE and CalOES to identify additional wildfire perimeters for any fires where there is a declaration of a state of emergency.
Montana — Marijuana Profits: The Montana Lowdown reports that the first six-months of legalized marijuana sales has generated close to $94 million in non-medical sales. That statistic from data put together by the Montana Department of Revenue’s Cannabis Control Division.
That amount — by the way — equals about $85 per each Montana resident. And that with sales only legal in half of the state’s 56 counties.
Source link: Montana Lowdown
Oregon — Cancelation Rulemaking: The Oregon Division of Financial Regulation recently announced the following proposed rulemaking:
Filing Caption: In the matter of clarifying notice requirements for midterm cancellations of package policies
Amend Rule: 836-085-0055
Rule Summary: Amend in order to clarify notice period requirements for commercial liability insurance policy
cancellations as outlined within the published DFR product standards.
Filed: July 27, 2022
Hearing: August 24, 2022, 3:00 PM
This is a hybrid meeting conducted in-person and virtually via Microsoft TEAMS. See Notice for TEAMS meeting instructions.
Last day/time to offer comment: August 31, 2022, 5:00 PM
For more information on this recently adopted rule, please visit the division’s website:
Oregon — 2020 Labor Day Wildfire Timeline: Bulletin DFR 2022-3: Rebuild timelines and the 2020 Labor Day wildfire disaster
To all property and casualty insurers that write homeowners policies and that have time limits in their policies for rebuilding or replacement of contents of less than three years
The Oregon Division of Financial Regulation has issued a bulletin regarding rebuild timelines and the 2020 Labor Day wildfire disaster.
The purpose of this bulletin is to clarify the division’s expectations for insurers with respect to claims by Oregon homeowners rebuilding after suffering losses in the 2020 Labor Day wildfire disaster, and to provide certainty to affected consumers for the purpose of rebuilding from the losses.
Appendix I for 2020 Wildfire Rebuilding Timelines Reporting final 8.3.22.xlsx
Click here to review this bulletin:
Washington — Implementation of Health care sharing ministries rulemaking (R 2021-17): We adopted the health care sharing ministries rule (R 2021-17) on August 3, 2022. The rule takes effect on September 3, 2022. The rule relates to the exemption of health care sharing ministries (HCSM) from the definition of health carrier or insurer under 48.43.009 to reduce confusion related to entities’ status as HCSMs, increase transparency, and codify all applicable rules related to health care sharing ministries in one location in the Washington Administrative Code.
For more information, including the adopted rule (CR-103) and the concise explanatory statement, please visit the rule’s webpage.
Washington — Plan year 2023 discontinuation and renewal materials are now available: The updated discontinuation and renewal materials for plan year 2023 are now available through the OIC website.
Federal law requires issuers to use the approved templates for individual health plans, and we encourage issuers to use our templates for small group health plans. However, federal law allows issuers to write their own small group notices, as long as they include all of the required elements.
Issuers must file their draft notices in SERFF and receive approval before sending them to consumers. We discourage issuers from using cover letters, but if issuers choose to use them, they must submit them to OIC’s Senior Policy Analyst for review.
If you have questions, please contact: Kim Tocco, Health Forms Program Manager — Kim.Tocco@oic.wa.gov.
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