State says fireplace threat map didn't have an effect on insurance coverage [Baker City Herald, Ore.] – Insurance coverage Information InternetAugust 17, 2022
Aug. 15—Oregon insurance coverage firms have not used, and do not plan to make use of, a controversial state wildfire threat map in figuring out protection or premium prices, in line with a survey a state company launched on Friday, Aug. 12.
The survey outcomes counter one of many complaints that prompted the Oregon Division of Forestry to withdraw the map launched to the general public June 30.
Property homeowners and state lawmakers cited circumstances by which residents whose property was deemed at excessive or excessive fireplace threat on the map had issues with their insurance coverage, together with insurance policies that weren’t prolonged.
However the Oregon Division of Monetary Regulation on Friday said in a press launch that “insurance coverage firms in Oregon didn’t use, and presently don’t have any plans to make use of, the state wildfire threat map of their decision-making.”
The danger map is a part of Senate Invoice 762, a 2021 invoice that the Legislature handed and Oregon Gov. Kate Brown signed into legislation.
The invoice addresses a number of points associated to wildfires within the state, together with wildfire prevention and defending rural properties from fireplace. The invoice required the state to attract a map, by June 30, 2022, displaying the wildfire threat for every of Oregon’s 1.8 million tax tons.
The Oregon Division of Forestry and Oregon State College collaborated on producing the map, which, along with the danger degree, confirmed which properties are inside what’s often known as the wildland-urban interface — WUI, the zone in and close to forests and rangelands the place wildfires are extra doubtless.
Homeowners of properties which can be each throughout the WUI and rated at excessive or excessive threat could possibly be required, beneath Senate Invoice 762, to take steps, equivalent to pruning bushes, to guard their properties. These residents is also required to adjust to extra stringent constructing codes.
However it was the priority about how the fireplace threat map might have an effect on residents’ insurance coverage that prompted many complaints, together with from Baker County’s two state legislators, Sen. Lynn Findley, R-Vale, and Rep. Mark Owens, R-Crane.
State Forester Cal Mukumoto introduced on Aug. 3 that the map had been withdrawn and can be revised.
Mukumoto mentioned the state had not been aggressive sufficient in notifying the general public concerning the map and soliciting public feedback about it.
As for the contentions concerning the map influencing insurance coverage firms, state officers say these are unfounded.
In response to the Division of Monetary Regulation, earlier than the state launched the map June 30, insurance coverage firm officers informed the state, in what the press launched described as “casual discussions,” that they didn’t intend to make use of the upcoming map.
On Aug. 2, after listening to considerations from residents that the danger map was affecting insurance coverage protection, the state made a proper inquiry to insurance coverage firms, which they’re required by state legislation to reply in truth, in line with the press launch.
The state inquiry requested the practically 150 insurance coverage firms that provide home-owner protection in Oregon to reply these questions:
—Does the corporate use the state wildfire map for ranking or underwriting?
(Score determines premium prices, and underwriting is the method of assessing the danger of providing a coverage.)
—Does the corporate use the state wildfire map for some other functions?
—Does the corporate plan to make use of the state wildfire map for any goal sooner or later?
In response to the press launch, all firms mentioned they do not use the map for ranking or underwriting, nor do they intend to make use of it.
The press launch additionally famous that the state has not acquired any purposes for insurance coverage price modifications that embody the wildfire threat map as an element.
“This confirms what we knew: Insurance coverage firms should not utilizing the state wildfire threat map,” Oregon Insurance coverage Commissioner Andrew Stolfi mentioned within the press launch. “Insurance coverage firms have been utilizing their very own threat maps and different sturdy threat administration instruments to evaluate wildfire threat for years in making ranking and underwriting choices. We imagine there was confusion between choices based mostly on insurers’ continued use of their very own instruments, together with their very own threat maps, and the discussions on the brand new state wildfire threat map. We encourage insurers and brokers to watch out in how they describe underwriting and ranking choices.”
Customers who’ve questions or complaints about insurance coverage can contact the Division of Monetary Regulation’s shopper advocacy hotline at 888-877-4894 (toll-free) or file a criticism on-line at dfr.oregon.gov.
On Thursday, Aug. 11, the Division of Monetary Regulation issued a bulletin, signed by Stolfi, to all insurance coverage firms promoting home-owner insurance policies citing the considerations about firms utilizing the wildfire threat map.
The bulletin said that though firms had denied utilizing the map, “it could be a violation of the Insurance coverage Code to falsely attribute price will increase or choices to cancel protection to the state wildfire threat map.”
“This can be very vital that customers obtain correct details about choices made with respect to their polices,” the bulletin states.
(c)2022 the Baker Metropolis Herald (Baker Metropolis, Ore.)
Go to the Baker Metropolis Herald (Baker Metropolis, Ore.) at www.bakercityherald.com
Distributed by Tribune Content material Company, LLC.
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