2007 Legislation

Senate bills 

SB 116 (ch 538) Towing business certificates; insurance

SB 116 governs business practices by towers of vehicles, and amends a provision of the Motor Vehicle Code that governs the issuance of towing business certificates. One of the conditions for issuance is that the applicant must have a certificate of insurance to substantiate insurance coverage. The certificate of insurance must be issued by a licensed insurance company, and it must show that the person is insured with the minimum coverage required by law, contain the policy number and require the insurer to give the Department of Transportation written notice of the policy and to continue to be liable under the policy until the Department of Transportation receives the written notice or until the cancellation date in the written notice, whichever is later.

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

SB 183 extends and restructures the existing program, enacted in 2003, for reduced-cost medical malpractice insurance that provides rate relief for rural doctors. The bill adds nurse practitioners to the program. The bill also extends the program to rural doctors and nurse practitioners who are covered through a health care facility, if they are not employees of the facility and if they meet certain other requirements. SB 183 also requires that a doctor or nurse practitioner be willing to serve patients with Medicare coverage and patients receiving Medicaid assistance.

The program continues to prioritize obstetric care. It would originally have terminated at the end of 2007, but will now continue through 2011.

Effective: June 25, 2007.

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

SB 255 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.

Under current law, the auto insurer of the injured person may recover the PIP benefits in any of three ways: (1) directly from the at-fault driver’s insurer; (2) in the form of a lien against amounts recovered in a lawsuit; or (3) through subrogation. When the insurer of the injured person seeks recovery by lien or subrogation, the insurer of the injured person must pay its share of the legal costs. Before this legislation, however, it had been unclear whether these options are exclusive.

SB 255 provides that if the injured person’s auto insurer does not seek to recover the PIP benefits directly from the at-fault driver’s insurer, the injured person’s insurer may recover the benefits only by lien under ORS 742.536 or through subrogation under ORS 742.538, ensuring that the injured person’s insurer will pay its share of legal costs.

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

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. Findings and awards made in arbitration are binding on the parties to the proceeding but not on any other party, and may not be used for collateral estoppel. This bill overturns a decision by the Oregon Supreme Court that held a consumer cannot recover from an at fault party if the consumer has lost in a PIP arbitration.

These changes apply to motor vehicle liability policies issued or renewed on or after Jan. 1, 2008, and before Jan. 2, 2012.

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

SB 523 improves 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 before this legislation did not require the insurer or its adjuster to notify the insured of the prohibition and did not require comparable payments.

SB 523 does the following:

  1. Requires the adjuster of a repair claim for an insurer to inform the insured person, before recommending a particular repair shop, that the insurer may not require repairs at a particular repair shop and that the person has a right to choose the repair shop.
  2. Specifies the notice that the adjuster must give if the adjuster recommends a repair shop.
  3. If the insured accepts the recommendation, requires the insurer to give the insured a statement that the vehicle will be repaired by the recommended repair shop to its pre-loss condition at no additional cost, other than as provided in the policy or by law.
  4. Prohibits an insurer, if the insured chooses to have the repair done at another repair shop, from limiting repair costs needed to return the car to pre-loss condition, other than as allowed in the policy or by law.

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

Effective July 1, 2009, SB 559 removes the requirement that employers and insurers provide proof of workers’ compensation coverage by filing a guaranty contract with DCBS. A workers' 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’ compensation policy is cancelled. The bill streamlines reporting requirements for insurers and eliminates a duplicative filing with the state.

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

SB 595 expands the categories of vehicles for which vehicle rental companies may offer insurance under a limited license issued by DCBS. Before this change, rental companies offering automobiles, various kinds of vans, SUVs, pickup trucks, and certain small trucks could sell personal accident insurance covering the risks of travel, liability insurance for operation of a rental vehicle, personal effects insurance for loss occurring during the rental period, and roadside assistance and emergency sickness insurance. SB 595 allows these categories of insurance also to be sold by rental companies offering rental recreational vehicles, motorcycles, all-terrain vehicles, and trailers.

Effective June 28, 2007.​​​​​​​​​​​