Around the PIA Western Alliance States

Oregon — House Bill 2274 gives State of Oregon new tools to fight securities fraud: The Oregon Division of Financial Regulation (DFR) continues to fight for consumers and investors with the passage of House Bill 2274, which bolsters the division’s enforcement tools in dealing with securities fraud.

Oregon securities law currently employs three core mechanisms to shield investors from potential harm:

 Mandatory registration: A security must be registered with the Department of Consumer and Business Services (DCBS), which includes DFR, before the offer or sale in Oregon, subject to specified conditions.

 Licensing requirements: Individuals engaged in selling securities or providing investment advice must be licensed by the state as a broker-dealer, salesperson, investment advisor, or investment advisor representative, unless exemptions or exclusions apply.

 Prohibition of misleading statements: The law prohibits making false or misleading statements in connection with the sale or purchase of securities in Oregon.

HB 2274, which the Oregon Legislature passed in the 2023 session and Gov. Tina Kotek recently signed into law, has two key provisions to enable DFR to better protect consumers and investors:

 Restitution: The bill grants the division authority to order restitution to investors harmed by violations of the securities law. This enhancement enables DFR to better protect investors by ensuring that wrongdoers compensate those adversely affected.

 Enhanced civil penalties: The bill authorizes civil penalties for securities law violations, with a maximum penalty of $60,000 for each violation. The higher penalties apply when the victim is considered a vulnerable person, including elderly individuals and those with financial incapability, incapacitation, or specific disabilities. Given the increasing vulnerability of the elderly population to securities fraud, this bill aims to deter violations and provide stronger protection for Oregon’s most susceptible investors.

HB 2274 also includes provisions to enhance DFR’s oversight and enforcement authority over the securities industry, including requiring prompt and truthful responses from subjects under investigation for securities violations.

“House Bill 2274 will lead to more effective enforcement of the Oregon securities laws and contribute to a safer investment environment for consumers and investors across the state,” said DFR Administrator TK Keen. “This bill is a big win in giving us the tools needed to protect vulnerable people and take on fraud.”

Oregon — Oregon Division of Financial Regulation releases first student loan report: Addressing challenges and providing solutions: The Oregon Division of Financial Regulation (DFR) has released its inaugural student loan report, shedding light on the intricacies of the state’s student loan landscape and the role of the newly established student loan ombuds. This report is a direct result of the Oregon Legislature’s innovative decision to establish the student loan ombuds position in 2021, demonstrating the state’s commitment to addressing the complexities surrounding student loans.

As required by ORS 725A.530, the student loan ombuds report is due yearly to the Legislature and highlights the work of the student loan ombuds, Lane Thompson, who was hired in June 2022. The report illustrates the challenges faced by borrowers and emphasizes the confusion caused by evolving regulations and policies.

“A lot of times, when I get a response from the servicers, it’s 80 pages and each response takes a long time to go through and understand,” Thompson said. “If it takes a long time for me, and is confusing, imagine what it’s like for the borrowers. Usually, by the time someone files a complaint, it has gotten complicated.”

Some highlights of the report:

Navigating confusion: The report emphasizes the profound changes that are reshaping the student loan landscape, leading to considerable confusion among borrowers. The division received 34 complaints through the student loan ombuds office. Thompson resolved 21 of those complaints, while some are still in process. The report underscores the need for streamlined communication between borrowers and servicers to foster quicker resolutions.

Focus on federal loan forgiveness/cancelation: About 25 percent of the complaints received were associated with federal student loan forgiveness or cancellation programs. The report points to the dynamic nature of these programs, with frequent policy shifts leading to a challenging environment for borrowers seeking clarity.

“It’s a moving target,” Thompson said, referring to federal student loan forgiveness programs. “Everything changes, sometimes daily, which leads to a lot of confusion among borrowers.”

Education and outreach: The report draws attention to the challenges arising from shifting regulations. As rules change, consumers face confusion and uncertainty, highlighting the necessity of consistent and accessible communication regarding evolving policies.

The report explains that Thompson regularly hosts both in-person and virtual education seminars and tables at community events. She has also created student loan resources on the division’s website at

“The main focus areas include clarifying the nuances of different forgiveness programs and repayment plans, as well as educating borrowers about the new requirement for student loan servicers being licensed with the state,” she said.

The report contains a series of recommendations to the Oregon Legislature, aimed at improving the student loan landscape for all borrowers. These include:

 Increased subsidies for higher education: The report advocates bolstering subsidies to enhance access to higher education, including promoting affordability and equitable opportunities for all students.

 Caps on garnishments: The report suggests the introduction of caps on garnishments for defaulted loan collection to protect borrowers from overly burdensome repayment obligations.

 Enhancements to servicing laws: The report proposes updates to current student loan servicing laws, mandating servicers to respond to borrower requests within a specific time period, and providing more information within monthly statements. This includes transparent disclosure of how payments are applied to various components of borrowers’ loans.

As the first student loan report is released, it calls attention to the state’s commitment to addressing the complexities surrounding student loans and empowering borrowers with the tools they need to make informed decisions. The division’s efforts, coupled with the active role of the student loan ombuds, represent a significant stride toward creating a fairer and more transparent student loan landscape.

“We have a lot of work to do in undoing all the confusion in the student loan space,” said TK Keen, administrator for DFR. “Creating this position was forward thinking by the legislature, and the work that Lane has done in this first year has been tremendous.”

Washington — Essential Health Benefit (EHB) public meeting series: This is the Office of the Insurance Commissioner’s Essential Health Benefits (EHB) benchmark plan update project, as directed by SSB 5338.

Health Management Associates’ Wakely Consulting Group is the actuarial firm assisting OIC with the EHB update project.  We have scheduled a public meeting on September 12, 2023 from 10am-noon.  At the meeting, the Wakely team will present a detailed overview of the steps required by federal rule to prepare an EHB benchmark plan update and share the timeline for the project.

The meeting will be virtual.  Please register for the meeting —

Washington — Best interest standard for annuities prepublication draft posted: This is information on rulemaking on the Annuity Best Interest Standard with the Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner. 

We released a pre-publication draft for the Annuity Best Interest Standard rule (R 2023-05). This rulemaking is required to implement Chapter 64, Laws of 2023, concerning the best interest standard for annuities. The new law will update Washington’s ‘suitability standard’ for annuity transactions to a ‘best interest’ threshold and aligns with updates the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) made to Model Regulation # 275 on Annuity Transactions. The new law requires producers (and insurers where no producer is involved) to act in the best interests of their consumers when recommending annuities, complete annuity specific training, and to establish and maintain recommendation supervision systems that ensure the insurance needs and financial objectives of consumers are effectively addressed.

OIC rulemaking will be needed to update training requirements, revise the prior ‘suitability standard’ with the new ‘best interest’ threshold, and generally achieve alignment between the applicable authorities.

Comments on the pre-publication draft are due by close of business (5PM PST) on Wednesday, August 23, 2023; please send them to

For more information, including the text of the pre-publication draft, please visit the rule’s webpage.

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.


More Industry News