State says hearth danger map didn't have an effect on insurance coverage [Baker City Herald, Ore.] – Insurance coverage Information WebAugust 17, 2022
Aug. 15—Oregon insurance coverage firms have not used, and do not plan to make use of, a controversial state wildfire danger map in figuring out protection or premium prices, in accordance 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 house owners and state lawmakers cited instances by which residents whose property was deemed at excessive or excessive hearth danger 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 at present don’t have any plans to make use of, the state wildfire danger 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 hearth. The invoice required the state to attract a map, by June 30, 2022, exhibiting the wildfire danger 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 chance stage, confirmed which properties are inside what’s generally known as the wildland-urban interface — WUI, the zone in and close to forests and rangelands the place wildfires are extra seemingly.
House owners of houses which can be each throughout the WUI and rated at excessive or excessive danger may very well 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 danger 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State Forester Cal Mukumoto introduced on Aug. 3 that the map had been withdrawn and could be revised.
Mukumoto stated 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 keeping with 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 chance 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 accordance with the press launch.
The state inquiry requested the almost 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?
(Ranking determines premium prices, and underwriting is the method of assessing the chance of providing a coverage.)
—Does the corporate use the state wildfire map for every other functions?
—Does the corporate plan to make use of the state wildfire map for any function sooner or later?
In keeping with the press launch, all firms stated 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 obtained any functions for insurance coverage price modifications that embody the wildfire danger map as an element.
“This confirms what we knew: Insurance coverage firms will not be utilizing the state wildfire danger map,” Oregon Insurance coverage Commissioner Andrew Stolfi stated within the press launch. “Insurance coverage firms have been utilizing their very own danger maps and different sturdy danger administration instruments to evaluate wildfire danger for years in making ranking and underwriting choices. We imagine there was confusion between choices primarily based on insurers’ continued use of their very own instruments, together with their very own danger maps, and the discussions on the brand new state wildfire danger map. We encourage insurers and brokers to watch out in how they describe underwriting and ranking choices.”
Shoppers 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 danger 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 danger 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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