Around the PIA Western Alliance States – Week of June 3, 2024

Oregon — PacifiCorp Sued by Wineries: Berkshire Hathaway’s PacifiCorp has been found guilty by a court for failing to cut power to 600,000 customers during high winds over Labor Day Weekend in 2020.

Fires caused by blown down power lines killed 9 people and destroyed over 5,000 homes and other buildings while burning 1,875 square miles of land.

Now a couple of dozen Oregon wineries and vineyard owners are suing the company. The 30 wineries say the smoke and soot from the fires damaged their grapes and stunted their harvest. In turn, sales were reduced and profits lost.

They want $100 million in damages.

PacifiCorp said it is “committed to settling all reasonable claims for damages as provided under Oregon law. The safety of our customers and communities remains our top priority.”

Source link: Insurance Journal — https://bit.ly/3Vr6jQ1

Oregon — The Oregon Division of Financial Regulation recently announced the following proposed rulemaking:

Filing Caption: Drug Manufacturers Annual Fee Assessment

Adopt Rule: OAR 836-200-0553

Rule Summary: Adopting annual fees paid by drug manufacturers.

Amend Rule: OAR 836-200-0555

Rule Summary: Adopting assessments against prescription drug manufacturers for 2023 and prior.

Filed: May 29, 2024

Hearing: June 25, 2024, 11 – 11:45 a.m.

This is a hybrid meeting conducted in-person and virtually via Microsoft Teams. See Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for Teams meeting instructions.

Last day/time to offer comment: July 2, 2024, 5 p.m. 

For more information on this recently adopted rule, please visit the division’s website:

https://dfr.oregon.gov/laws-rules/Documents/Proposed/20240625-annual-fee-assessment.pdf

Oregon — The Oregon Division of Financial Regulation recently announced the following proposed rulemaking:

Filing Caption: List of Prosthetic and Orthotic Devices under Oregon SB 797 (2023)

Amend Rule: OAR 836-052-1000

Rule Summary: Establishes and updates list of prosthetic and orthotic devices; prohibits internal or separate limits or caps on prosthetic and orthotic devices, other than the lifetime policy maximum, when permitted by law; defines when coverage for prosthetic and orthotic device is provided through a managed care organization.

Filed: May 29, 2024

Hearing: June 25, 2024, 10 – 10:30 a.m.

This is a hybrid meeting conducted in-person and virtually via Microsoft Teams. See Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for Teams meeting instructions.

Last day/time to offer comment: July 2, 2024, 5 p.m. 

For more information on this recently adopted rule, please visit the division’s website:

https://dfr.oregon.gov/laws-rules/Documents/Proposed/20240625-prosthetic-orthotic-devices.pdf

Washington — New premium change transparency rule starts June 1: As of June 1, 2024, insurance companies will have to let their policyholders know why their premiums have gone up.

Washington state Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler’s new rule requires insurers to provide an answer on why premiums have gone up — and in 2027, they’ll have to provide that information automatically when a policy renews.

“If your insurance company is going to increase your premium, you have a right to know why,” Kreidler said. “Hundreds of consumers, every year, have told us they are unable to get a clear answer from their insurance company about why they’re being charged more. This is pretty basic information that should be available, and now it will be.”

The new premium change transparency rule covers auto and homeowner insurance policies for people in Washington. The Office of the Insurance Commissioner held five interested-party meetings to gather input from consumers and the insurance industry prior to finalizing the rule. It’s the first of its kind in the country.

The rule goes into effect in two phases.

Phase 1

Starting June 1, 2024, insurance companies have to include a disclaimer on the first page or view of renewal notices or billing statements that lets the policyholder know they can request more details about their premium increase. 

These notices must be in 12-point bold font and must include contact information.

The insurance company then has 20 days from receiving a written request (through the mail or email) to deliver a clear, concise statement, in writing, providing a reasonable explanation for the premium increase. 

Phase 2

Starting June 1, 2027, insurance companies must send a notice at least 20 days before renewing a policy with a 10% (or more) increase.

The requirements for explanations get more specific in Phase 2: Insurance companies must provide a clear explanation and include the primary factors that caused the increase. 

Those factors can include claims history, discounts, fees and surcharges, premium capping, base rate changes, and demographic factors — like the policyholder’s age, credit history, education, gender, marital status, and occupation. 

For auto insurance, factors can also include the vehicle’s garaging location, driving record, miles driven, the number of drivers, and the number of vehicles on the policy.

For homeowner insurance, factors can also include the property’s age, location, and value.

If you have additional questions, think your insurance company isn’t meeting these standards, or want to file an insurance-related complaint, contact the OIC.

Washington — Thirteen insurers request average 11.3% rate change for 2025 individual health insurance market: Thirteen health insurers filed an average requested rate increase of 11.3% for Washington’s individual health insurance market. The proposed plans and their rates are currently under review and final decisions will be made this fall.

“I recognize that any proposed increase in price is deeply upsetting to those struggling to pay for coverage today,” said Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler. “People should know that these rates are not final and my office will be carefully reviewing each request to validate the assumptions being made by our state’s insurers. We will do everything under our authority ensure that any rate changes are justified.”

The Office of the Insurance Commissioner was directed by the state legislature to study various policy ideas that could lower the overall cost of health care. The final report with recommendations is due August 1.

People who do not get health insurance from their employer shop for health plans in the individual market. Financial subsidies that help lower monthly premiums are available, based on income, through Washington’s online health insurance marketplace, www.wahealthplanfinder.org.

An estimated 255,784 people in Washington are currently enrolled in health plans through the individual market.

SEE THE INSURERS AND THEIR REQUESTS HERE: https://bit.ly/3Vq6vza

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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