Oregon Legislature Passes Several P/C Insurance-Related Bills

August 24, 2007

The 2007 Oregon Legislature has passed a number of bills relating to insurance.

The bills affecting property/casualty insurance include:

*SB 183 (ch 574) Premium relief to rural doctors for professional medical liability insurance;

* SB 255 (ch 392) Motor vehicle liability insurance; personal injury protection benefits;

* SB 256 (ch 328) Motor vehicle liability insurance; personal injury protection benefits; arbitration;

* SB 523 (ch 506) Motor vehicle liability insurance; notice of consumer rights;

* SB 559 (ch 241) Workers’ compensation insurance; elimination of guaranty contracts;

* SB 595 (ch 719) Limited insurance producer license, vehicle rental companies;

* HB 2384 (ch 131) Uninsured motorist coverage;

* HB 2385 (ch 287) Self-insurers; motor vehicle liability insurance coverage for permitted users;

* HB 2654 (ch 648) Increased protection in residential construction;

* HB 2751 (ch 210) Contractor liability insurance, grouping authority;

* HB 2908 (ch 457) Motor vehicle insurance, uninsured motorist coverage;

* HB 3086 (ch 782) Motor vehicle insurance, family exclusion; and

* HB 3490 (ch 692) Personal Injury Protection benefits; payment.

SB 559 is designed to streamline reporting requirements for insurers and eliminate duplicative filing with the state.. If signed by the governor, beginning July 1, 2009, the bill will remove the requirement that employers and insurers must provide proof of workers’ compensation coverage by filing a guaranty contract with Department of Consumer and Business Services. Instead, a worker’s compensation insurance policy will take on the guaranty contract’s function, which is to provide that the insurer will assume the employer’s liability for prompt payment of compensation for compensable injuries. The insurer will be required to provide insurance policy information to DCBS as the proof of workers’ compensation coverage. Proof of coverage is also required after each renewal. The insurer must also notify the DCBS director when a workers’ comp policy is cancelled.

Several bills dealt with motor vehicle liability insurance. SB 225 provides that when an injured person sues to recover damages arising from an auto accident, the injured person’s auto insurer will pay its share of legal costs for recovery of personal injury protection (PIP) benefits from the insurer of the person at fault.

SB 256 provides for arbitration proceedings for resolving disputes about uninsured motorist coverage and personal injury protection benefits between the insurer and a person making a claim under the policy, when the parties agree to arbitration. For uninsured motorist disputes, the parties must submit the dispute to a panel of three arbitrators unless the parties agree otherwise. Each party chooses one arbiter and the two arbiters then choose the third. The proceeding must be conducted under the local court rules in the county in which the arbitration is held. PIP disputes must also be conducted under local court rules.

SB 523 was designed to improve the notice required to be given to consumers regarding their rights under motor vehicle liability insurance policies when a consumer takes a car to an auto body shop for repair of accident damage. The bill also requires equal treatment of claims, regardless of whether the consumer takes the car to a recommended auto body shop. Current law has prohibited an insurer from requiring the use of a particular shop, but prior to this legislation did not require the insurer or its adjuster to notify the insured of the prohibition and did not require comparable payments.

HB 2385 requires self-insurers (e.g., rental car companies and car dealerships) to provide motor vehicle liability insurance coverage for their customers or other permitted users to meet the minimum financial responsibility requirements under the Motor Vehicle Code ($25,000 for bodily injury per person, $50,000 for bodily injury per accident, $10,000 for property damage per accident, and uninsured motorist coverage). Prior to this change, self-insurers had to meet minimum financial responsibility requirements under the Motor Vehicle Code, but they were not required to provide the same coverage for their customers or other permitted users.

For details on all the bills, visit www.cbs.state.or.us/external/ins/legislature/2007_legislature/2007-ins_legislation-main.html.

Source: OID

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