Around the PIA Western Alliance States – Week of June 5, 2023

Idaho — Home Disaster & What to do: Idaho is experiencing spring flooding throughout the state and will soon approach wildfire season. If you lose your home or suffer damage, the Idaho Department of Insurance wants consumers to understand what to expect and how to deal with your insurance claim to make the process easier.

The Post-Disaster Claims Guide offers an overview of the process, along with helpful tools and tips to navigate the insurance claims process, including:

Safe and sound – After a disaster hits, make sure you and your family are safe. Then secure your belongings.

Report a claim – Once you’ve determined your home is damaged and needs to be repaired or rebuilt, report or file a claim as soon as possible.

Estimate damage – An insurance adjuster will figure out how much damage was done to your home and property.

Determine coverage – Once the adjuster has figured out how much it will cost to rebuild, repair or replace your home or property, the adjuster will review your policy to calculate how much the insurance company will pay.

Rebuild, repair and replace – During the recovery phase, you’ll be replacing personal items (if damaged), choosing building materials and working with contractors.

Prepare – The recovery process is the best time to start preparing for the next disaster or claim.

Complete information for each of these points is included within the downloadable Post-Disaster Claims Guide.

Keep in mind that filing an insurance claim is a process that needs to be worked through step-by-step. Your insurance policy is a contract between you and your insurer. That contract contains the terms and conditions of coverage and both you and your company have legal rights and commitments to fulfill it. Knowledge about the process and basic information about insurance laws that deal with the handling of claims will empower you in your recovery.

“Disasters happen everywhere and can happen at any time, and they can cause significant damage to homes and personal property,” said Dean Cameron, Director of the Idaho Department of Insurance. “We want Idahoans to be prepared and hope this guide will be useful.”

Idahoans who are having issues with their carrier can contact the DOI Consumer Services team. We can answer questions and help consumers resolve disputes with insurance companies and insurance agents. Consumers can file a claim online or call 208-334-4319 or email

Oregon — Oregon regulators issue warning about ‘pig butchering’ scam: The Oregon Division of Financial Regulation (DFR) is warning consumers to be wary of an unexpected text or direct message from a stranger – it might be the first step in a “pig butchering” scam. The term pig butchering comes from the practice of fattening a pig before slaughter. These scams often involve fraudsters contacting targets seemingly at random, using social media or common communication apps.

The scammer gains the victim’s trust, often by starting a romantic relationship or a simple friendship. The scammer then starts to convince the victim to invest in phony investments, including fraudulent cryptocurrency schemes, before falsely claiming the initial investment grew significantly. The scammer then asks for more and more money, and demand multiple types of fees if a victim requests to withdraw the funds. Even when the victim pays the withdrawal fees, the fraudster does not refund the victim’s money, but rather disappears with the funds without any further communication.

According to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), there are several warning signs to be aware of involving these types of scams:

Unexpected contact: Never respond to unsolicited messages from unknown contacts, even about seemingly benign topics, especially via text message and on encrypted messaging applications.

Refusal to participate in video chats: If someone you consistently have been messaging with declines to interact face to face, they likely are not the person from the profile photo.

Request for financial information: Don’t share any personal financial information with anyone you have never met in person. If a new virtual friend or romantic connection starts making financial inquiries, put the brakes on the relationship.

Invitation to invest in specific financial products: Be wary of any unsolicited investment advice or tips, particularly from someone you have spoken to only online and even if they suggest you trade through your own account. Always question what a source has to gain from sharing tips with you and whether the transaction fits with your financial goals and investment strategy.

Unknown or confusing investment opportunity: Carefully evaluate the product, as well as the person or company requesting your investment. Along with a basic search, try adding words such as “scam” or “fraud” to see what results come up. Consider running recommendations by a third party or an investment professional who has no stake in the investment and use FINRA BrokerCheck to see if the promoter is a registered investment professional.

Unfamiliar trading platforms: Do extensive research before moving any money, particularly in an emerging market such as cryptocurrency, which has hundreds of exchanges and new avenues for trading continuing to evolve. Who controls the platform? What security measures are in place? How can you withdraw funds if needed? If you don’t know the answers to those questions, don’t put your assets there.

Exaggerated claims and elevated emotions: Take a closer look at any investment that offers much higher than average returns or is touted as “guaranteed.” Fraudsters will also often use their knowledge about you to appeal to your emotions – something like, “Don’t you want to have money to send your kids to college?”

Sense of urgency about an upcoming news announcement or share price increase: Remember that insider trading is illegal, and you should never trade in shares of a company on the basis of material, nonpublic information.

“Romance scams and crypto scams continue to be the source of significant losses for consumers,” said DFR Administrator T.K. Keen. “Consumers who receive contacts out of the blue through messaging apps on their phone or other means should be especially suspicious of those trying to entice them into cryptocurrency investments.”

Although the division has not received any complaints specific to pig butchering schemes, it knows that this activity is occurring based upon conversations with federal and nearby state law enforcement authorities. Several states and federal authorities have issued warnings on this sort of fraud. In 2022, investment fraud caused the highest losses of any scam reported by the public to the FBI’s Internet Crimes Complaint Center (IC3), totaling $3.31 billion. Frauds involving cryptocurrency, including pig butchering, represented most of these scams, increasing 183 percent from 2021 to $2.57 billion in reported losses last year. The division accepts consumer complaints and will forward to the appropriate law enforcement authorities. Consumers can also make a complaint to the FBI’s IC3 at

Washington — Fourteen insurers request average 9.11% rate change for 2024 individual health insurance market: Fourteen health insurers filed an average requested rate increase of 9.11% 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.

“Nearly 250,000 people in Washington state get their health coverage through our individual market,” said Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler. “I’m pleased that so many insurers are filing plans again and to see such healthy competition. Now, we’ll spend the next few months closely reviewing the companies’ requests and the assumptions they’re making to be sure any rate change is justified.”

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,

An estimated 244,229 people in Washington are currently enrolled in health plans through the individual market.

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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