Insurance won’t use Oregon fire hazard maps

Oregon insurance companies have not used, and currently do not intend to use, the state’s wildfire risk map in their decision-making, the data shows. released today by the Oregon Division of Financial Regulation.

During informal discussions before the release of the state’s wildfire hazard map, insurers told the division they had no plans to use the map. After concerns were raised during public hearing sessions about the new map, the division issued an official data appeal to all affected insurers doing business in Oregon to confirm they were not using or did not plan to use the state fire hazard map for underwriting or pricing decisions. A data call is a formal request that insurers are required by law to answer honestly.

Underwriting is the process used by an insurance company to determine the risk of offering or renewing an insurance product to a consumer. Pricing is the process of determining the amount of premium to be paid to insure a risk such as a home.

The data call requested the following:
• Does the company use the state wildfire map for rating or underwriting?
• Does the company use the state wildfire map for other purposes?
• Does the company plan to use the state wildfire map for any purpose in the future?

All insurers responded that they do not use the card for pricing and underwriting and that they do not plan to use it for pricing and underwriting. Additionally, the division has not received any new proposed rate filings that include the state’s wildfire map as a rating factor. The division does not set the rates or determine what rates should be; however, all rates used by insurance companies in Oregon must be filed with the division for review. The filing must include the methodology used to develop the rates and the proposed rates must be actuarially sound, adequate, non-excessive and non-discriminatory.

“This confirms what we knew: insurance companies are not using the state’s wildfire hazard map,” Oregon Insurance Commissioner Andrew Stolfi said. “Insurance companies have for years used their own risk maps and other robust risk management tools to assess wildfire risk in making pricing and underwriting decisions. We believe there has been confusion between decisions based on insurers’ continued use of their own tools, including their own risk maps, and discussions of the company’s new wildfire risk map. ‘State. We encourage insurers and agents to be careful in how they describe underwriting and pricing decisions.

“We are here to protect consumers from misinformation and welcome any documentation consumers have from insurance companies indicating that the card has been used to influence underwriting or pricing decisions. We also encourage owners to contact our consumer advocates with any questions or concerns about changes to their policy. »

Consumers can contact the Financial Regulation Division’s Consumer Advocacy Hotline at 888-877-4894 (toll-free). Consumers can also file a complaint online at dfr.oregon.gov

Also this week, the division released a home insurance guide: https://dfr.oregon.gov/insure/home/Documents/5794-… to help people better understand how insurance companies determine if insurance policies should be offered and renewed and their rates set. The division also issued a bulletin: https://dfr.oregon.gov/laws-rules/Documents/Bullet… advising insurance agents that no insurer is using the state map for underwriting decisions or underwriting and reminding them that it is a violation of the Oregon Insurance Code to share false or misleading information.

“The sad reality is that wildfire risk has increased in Oregon, especially over the past few years, and businesses are responding to that,” Stolfi said. “One option for people who are canceled or not renewed is to work with an insurance agent, who can help you find a policy that suits your needs. There are nearly 150 companies offering homeowners insurance in Oregon , we therefore encourage those affected by the risk of fire to search several different companies and to contact our consumer advocates if they need help.

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