Ore. Construction Claims Task Force Appointed

September 14, 2005

Nine Oregonians have been appointed to serve on a state task force that will study the relationship between construction liability claims and construction industry practices, construction defects, consumer protection, and state-mandated liability insurance requirements for contractors.

The nine members are:

* Tom Skaar, Portland, Pacific Western Homes Inc., representing single-family dwelling contractors;
* Steven Malany, Gresham, P & C Construction Company, representing commercial multifamily dwelling contractors;
* Laura Schauer, Portland, O’Brien Constructors LLC, representing commercial structure contractors;
* Bill Nesmith, Salem, representing the Oregon Department of Energy;
* David DeHarrport, Beaverton, Four D Construction, representing the state’s Residential Structures Board;
* Jon Fahr, Bend, Palmer Homes Inc., representing residential construction designers;
* Elsie Jones, Portland, Jones Kendall Sauer Inc., representing insurance agents;
* Jim Vavreck, Portland, vice president for commercial underwriting, Liberty Northwest Insurance Corporation, representing insurers that offer contractor liability coverage;
* Eric Grasberger, Portland, attorney, Stoel Rives LLP, representing the public.

The task force was mandated by House Bill 2078, which the 2005 Legislature approved in July.

Rising construction liability claims, often attributed to new building products and contractor performance issues, have reportedly resulted in stiff premium increases for contractor liability insurance in recent years.

Contractors reportedly complain that coverage is difficult to find and very expensive. Consumers reportedly complain that water damage, mold, and other problems require expensive repairs.

The task force’s mission is to make recommendations to the 2007 Legislature to reduce the number of liability claims stemming from construction issues while assuring appropriate protection of Oregon consumers and affordable insurance for contractors.

Recommendations could include changes to contractor education, quality control, and building code requirements.

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