Around the PIA Western Alliance States – Week of May 27, 2024

Idaho — Consumer Alert: State Fire Marshal’s Office reminds consumers to be lithium-ion battery safe: The Idaho State Fire Marshal’s Office is reminding consumers to be mindful of lithium-ion batteries, following recent fires caused by a lithium battery failure and improper disposal.

Lithium-ion batteries supply power to many kinds of devices including smart phones, laptops, e-scooters and e-bikes, e-cigarettes, smoke alarms, toys, and even cars. These batteries store a large amount of energy in a small amount of space. If not used correctly, or if damaged, these batteries can catch on fire or explode.

The State Fire Marshal offers these lithium battery safety tips:

Purchase and use devices that are listed by a qualified testing laboratory.

Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

Only use the battery that is designed for the device.

Put batteries in the device the correct way.

Only use the charging cord that came with the device.

Do not charge a device under your pillow, on your bed, or on a couch.

Do not keep charging the device or device battery after it is fully charged.

Keep batteries at room temperature when possible. Do not charge them at temperatures below 32°F (0°C) or above 105°F (40°C).

Store batteries away from anything that can catch fire.

Watch for these signs of a problem with lithium batteries:

Rapid Discharge – A rapid discharge rate is one of the initial signs that your lithium-ion battery is damaged. Users may notice a device losing power even after a full charge. This suggests that the battery is struggling to maintain enough charge over time and indicates an underlying problem with the battery’s ability to keep and deliver power.

Overheating – Another prominent red flag is excessive heat generation during battery use or charging. Some heat is normal. An abnormal temperature rise could cause internal issues within the battery, affect performance, and pose safety risks. Pay attention to any noticeable increase in heat during regular operation. It is a clear sign that the battery needs closer inspection.

Swelling or Bulging – Inspect batteries for any signs of swelling or bulging. Swelling or bulging in the battery’s casing is due to the accumulation of gas inside the battery and is a clear sign of internal problems. A deformed battery points towards potential failure and poses safety risks including the possibility of leakage or even explosion.

Reduced Capacity – Frequent charging due to reduced capacity is common as lithium-ion batteries age. Over time, these batteries degrade, leading to a diminished ability to hold a charge. If the device needs more charging than usual, it may indicate a declining battery.

The State Fire Marshal’s Office adds that defunct lithium-ion batteries should be disposed of properly and never in household trash. Consumers should take them to a battery recycling location or contact their local waste disposal or landfill for proper disposal instructions.

“Lithium batteries require special attention,” says State Fire Marshal Knute Sandahl. “Although they may seem to be safe, they can still pose a risk of fire, especially if they are damaged. Idahoans who follow these safety tips can protect themselves from the devastating effects of a lithium battery caused fire.”

Hawaii — Crisis Communication: In light of what happened on Maui last year, fire departments around Hawaii are looking closely at their crisis communication. One of the biggest problems faced by responders, and victims of the fire, was a lack of communication tools in fire vehicles and the communication systems of the cell phone providers on Maui.

Maui’s fire officials are working on a report for the Western Fire Chiefs Association on whether it should become part of FirstNet. That’s a network for first responders that was first used in Hawaii in 2017.

Bob Roper is the association’s senior policy adviser and is writing the report.

“It’s becoming more and more important for first responders to have broadband coverage because of some of the software they have in their equipment that relies on that broadband backbone,” Roper said.

An interagency communications group has been formed at the county level in Oahu. It is meeting weekly to discuss how coverage by private cell carriers will work for different disasters.

Kauai’s emergency responders want to put a new cell tower on the north shore of the island near Haena. Lifeguards on the beaches there have to wander around looking for a signal in order to call for help in an emergency.

Many residents of Haena oppose the installation.

On the Big Island there are enough towers for good coverage. The problem is keeping track of fire department vehicles during a crisis.

Source link: Insurance Journal —

Oregon — The Oregon Fair Plan and One80: The Oregon Fair Plan has entered into an informal relationship with Boston, Massachusetts specialty insurance broker, One80. It can write a wrap-around policy in conjunction with the FAIR Plan policy. 

Here is the news release from One80.

One80 Intermediaries (One80), a specialty insurance broker headquartered in Boston, in partnership with the Oregon FAIR Plan Association, announced the expansion of its market leading homeowners’ coverage throughout the state of Oregon.

Effective immediately, One80 and its carrier partners will offer wrap-around coverage (also known as “Differences in Conditions” or “DIC”) which will match the coverage limits offered by the FAIR Plan, creating a true HO-3 policy (form is the HO-03 05/11). This will round out the limited coverage offered by the FAIR Plan by providing liability, theft, water damage coverage and a few other named perils. The program is available on non-admitted paper in the state of Oregon. Retail brokers are invited to quote, bind and issue policies using One80’s online platform, Access One80.

Currently, the OFPA offers basic homeowners’ coverage which excludes liability, theft and water damage.

“One80 has a proven track record of protecting California homeowners through this program,” said Martin Burlingame, Contract Binding Practice Leader, One80 Intermediaries.

“We are thrilled to extend the solution across the state of Oregon. Many of our brokers have been asking for ways to provide clients with more significant coverage to protect their homes. We are happy to partner with One80, which provides a network of insurance solutions, including a DIC offering through Hamilton Insurance DAC,” said Steve Steinbeck, Executive Director, Oregon FAIR Plan Association.

Washington — Notice of Rulemaking on Health Care Benefit Managers: We are starting rulemaking R2024-02 related to health care benefit managers, including but not limited to implementation of E2SSB 5213 (Chapter 242, Laws of 2024).

E2SSB 5213 amends state law concerning the business practices of health care benefit managers (HCBMs) and pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs, which are a type of HCBM). Rulemaking is necessary to revise existing HCBM rules at Chapter 284-180 Washington Administrative Code (WAC) and to ensure that all affected entities understand their rights and obligations under the new law. In addition, rulemaking related to HCBMs is necessary to ensure that OIC can effectively oversee HCBMs in light of recent health care industry developments. OIC may revise provisions of Chapter 284-180 WAC or Chapter 284-170 WAC to accomplish this.

OIC plans to schedule an interested parties meeting for July 2024, with date, time, and details to be announced.

The comment period for this rule begins May 22, 2024, and closes on June 20, 2024. Please send comments to

Washington — Notice of rulemaking on Prior Authorization Modernization and Substance Use Disorder Treatment (Implementation of RCW 48.43.830 and Chapter 366, Laws of 2024): We are starting rulemaking R2024-03 to modernize prior authorization processes, prevent delays in care, and improve health outcomes, particularly within substance use disorder treatment. This rulemaking may include but is not limited to: (1) updating prior authorization review timeframes, clinical review criteria, and prior authorization processes; (2) updating the initial authorization requirements for substance use disorder treatment; and (3) clarifying what may be considered when determining medical necessity for substance use disorder treatment.

This proposed rulemaking will ensure that necessary rules are adopted by the OIC in a timely manner. These proposed rules will facilitate implementation of these laws by ensuring that all affected health care entities understand their rights and obligations under the new laws.

The comment period for this rule will begin on May 22, 2024 and will close on June 21, 2024. Please send comments to

For more information, including the notice to start rulemaking (CR-101), please visit the prior authorization modernization and substance use disorder treatment web page.

Washington — Notice of rulemaking on (R 2024-01) SSB 5986 Implementation, Balanced Billing Protection Act & Notice of rulemaking on Implementation of SSB 5986 and updates to the Balance Billing Protection Act (BBPA) rules in Chap. 284-43B WAC.

We are starting rulemaking R2024-01 to implement SSB 5986 which was signed into law on March 19, 2024. The legislation adds protections from balance billing for ground ambulance services to the Balance Billing Protection Act (BBPA). Rulemaking is necessary to revise Chap. 284-43B WAC to include reference to ground ambulance services. The rules will facilitate the implementation of the law changes by ensuring that affected entities understand their rights and obligations under the new law. Rulemaking is also necessary to update the BBPA rules, including but not limited to consideration of arbitrator fees and revisions to the arbitration process for arbitration authorized under RCW 48.49.135.

The comment period for this rule begins May 22, 2024, and closes on June 21, 2024. Please send comments to

For more information, including the notice to start rulemaking (CR-101), please visit the rule 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.


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