2011 Legislation

Senate and house bills related to property and casualty

The Insurance Code requires that providers of PIP benefits charge a person who receives PIP benefits (or that person's insurer) the lesser of: (1) an amount that does not exceed the amount the provider charges the general public, or (2) an amount that does not exceed the Workers' Compensation fee schedules. Before April 1, 2011, ambulance providers could charge a person or the person's insurer 100 percent of their usual fee as ambulance services were not covered by the workers' compensation fee schedules. Rulemaking required insurers to pay 80 percent of the provider's usual fee when the service is not covered by the fee schedules. As a result, ambulance providers experienced a reduction in payments from insurers. SB 372 decouples the payment of PIP benefits for ambulance services from the workers' compensation fee schedules, and allows ambulance providers to once again charge 100 percent of their usual fee.

  • Effective Date: Sept. 1, 2011

The Insurance Code allows an insured to obtain an independent appraisal by a disinterested party of damage to a vehicle if the insurer and the insured disagree about the policy coverage for physical damage, and if the policy includes a provision allowing the insured to seek an independent appraisal. This bill amends the law to require that a person conducting an independent appraisal be a competent and disinterested person. In addition, the appraisal must be conducted by a person who has been issued a vehicle appraiser certificate under the Oregon Vehicle Code, or has been issued a vehicle appraiser certificate or license by another state or government body.

  • Effective Date: Jan. 1, 2012
  • Applicability: Motor vehicle liability insurance policies issued or renewed on or after Jan. 1, 2012
The 2003 Legislature enacted HB 3630 to subsidize medical professional liability insurance costs for rural doctors and directed the State Accident Insurance Fund Corporation to establish a reinsurance program for medical professional liability insurance policies issued to rural doctors. This program succeeded in providing medical professional liability insurance rate relief to rural doctors, and in 2007, the legislature enacted SB 183 to extend and modify the program. This program expired at the end of calendar year 2011.

SB 608 requires the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) to establish a new program to provide subsidies for medical professional liability insurance premiums paid by rural health practitioners. This bill establishes the Rural Medical Liability Subsidy Fund in the State Treasury, separate from the General Fund. The Subsidy Fund is to pay premium subsidies to applicable practitioners (both doctors and nurse practitioners).
  • Effective Date: June 28, 2011
  • Operative Date: Jan. 1, 2012

This bill voids any provision in a construction agreement if the provision requires a party or the party's surety or insurer to waive a right of subrogation, indemnity, or contribution for amounts paid by reason of death or bodily injury, or damage to property, caused in whole or in part by the negligence of another person. SB 961 does not apply to such a provision in an insurance policy issued for certain very large projects defined in the Insurance Code or to such a provision that applies to proceeds of a property insurance policy. Exemptions apply allowing waivers of subrogation, indemnity, or contribution in a personal property lease or rental agreement, a real property lease or rental agreement between a landlord and tenant, and in a construction agreement in which one of the parties is a railroad.

  • Effective Date: June 23, 2011
This bill removes the sunset provision of SB 256, passed by the 2007 Legislature, and allows parties in an uninsured motorist coverage dispute, when the parties agree to arbitration, to continue using arbitration to resolve the dispute.
  • Effective Date: Jan. 1, 2012

Surplus Lines Provisions

This bill conforms Oregon's surplus lines insurance laws to certain provisions of the federal Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act that became effective July 21, 2011. The Dodd-Frank Act contemplates that each state will adopt nationwide uniform requirements to share premium taxes on multi-state surplus lines policy transactions. HB 2679 allows Oregon to collect a tax on 100 percent of the premium on a multi-state surplus lines policy if Oregon is the "home state" of an insured. The bill also allows the director of the Department of Consumer and Business Services, after receiving express legislative approval, to enter into a compact or otherwise establish procedures with other states to allocate premium taxes on multi-state surplus lines policies. The bill gives Oregon the authority to collect premium taxes on independently procured surplus lines policies. HB 2679 amends Oregon's current requirements that an insurance producer first must determine whether the insurance is available from an admitted insurer before writing surplus lines insurance (called a "diligent search"), and broadens the diligent search federal exemption under Dodd-Frank to include a larger group of commercial purchasers. The bill also simplifies and streamlines the calculation of the tax that helps fund the office of the State Fire Marshal, and increases the minimum capital and surplus requirements for surplus lines insurers.

Health Insurance Provisions

HB 2679 was also used as the vehicle for two health insurance related amendments that are unrelated to surplus lines insurance. The bill amends ORS 743.912 and 743.917 and clarifies that the statute applies to health benefit plans. The bill prohibits health insurers from requesting refunds of payments made to a provider more than the earlier of the date specified in a contract between the provider and the health insurer or 18 months after the date of original payment except in cases of fraud, abuse of billing, coordination of benefits, and certain third-party liability situations. Except in cases of fraud and coordination of benefits, the bill prohibits a health care provider from requesting additional payment from a health insurer more than the earlier of the last day of the period specified by the contract with the insurer or 18 months after the date the claim was denied or payment was made. The bill also prohibits a health insurer from considering a provider's claim untimely if the claim is made no later than 12 months after a different insurer denied the claim in whole or in part; or requested a refund of an erroneous payment. 

HB 2679 also requires insurers offering health benefit plans that provide coverage of prescription eye drops to provide coverage for one early refill of a prescription for eye drops to treat glaucoma if (1) the refill is requested by an insured less than 30 days after the later of (a) the date the original prescription was dispensed, and (b) the date the last refill was dispensed; (2) the prescriber indicates on the original prescription that a specific number of refills will be needed; (3) the refill does not exceed the number indicated; and (4) the prescription hasn't been refilled more than once during the 30-day period before the request for an early refill.

  • Effective Date: Jan. 1, 2012
  • Applicability: There are two provisions in the bill related to applicability:
    1. The health insurance provisions related to payments to providers apply to contracts between insurers and providers in effect on or after Jan. 1, 2012.
    2. The health insurance provisions related to prescription eye drops apply to policies or certificates issued or renewed on or after Jan. 1, 2012.

This bill is modeled after a California law and allows motor vehicle owners to participate in vehicle sharing program where the owner's vehicle could be used for noncommercial purposes for a fee. The bill eliminates the concern that the owner's personal motor vehicle liability insurer will cancel, void, terminate, rescind, or nonrenew an existing policy solely because the owner participates in a personal vehicle sharing program. A business conducting a personal vehicle sharing program is required to provide coverage for the vehicle and assume all liability of the vehicle owner. The vehicle owner's personal motor vehicle liability insurer may exclude all coverage under the policy while the vehicle is under the control of the personal vehicle sharing program. The personal vehicle sharing program must provide proof of compliance with the insurance requirements to the vehicle owner and comply with other recordkeeping requirements.

  • Effective Date: Jan. 1, 2012
  • Applicability: Insurance policies issued or renewed on or after Jan. 1, 2012.

This bill relates to portable electronics insurance coverage for the repair or replacement of portable electronics devices such as a cell phone or electronic tablet. A vendor (e.g., Verizon, Best Buy) who purchases this coverage from an insurer or insurance producer is prohibited from issuing, selling, or offering this insurance coverage to their customers without obtaining a limited insurance producer license issued by the Department of Consumer and Business Services (DCBS). This bill also allows the employees, agents, or authorized representatives of the vendor to sell this insurance coverage without being inpidually licensed, but they must receive training developed by the insurer or insurance producer before they are able to issue, sell, or offer portable electronics insurance. All acts of the employees, agents, or authorized representatives are deemed to be the acts of the vendor. The bill requires the vendor to comply with certain written disclosure requirements to prospective customers and includes civil penalties for violations of the law. Portable electronics insurance coverage does not apply to service contracts governed by ORS 646A.150 to 646A.172, a warranty, a maintenance agreement as defined in ORS 646A.152, or a policy of insurance covering the obligations of a vendor or a portable electronics manufacturer under a warranty. A vendor must apply for the limited insurance producer license no later than 90 days after the operative date.

  • Effective Date: June 16, 2011
  • Operative Date: Jan. 1, 2012

This bill exempts an inpidual from obtaining an adjuster's license if that inpidual, supervised by a licensed adjuster or insurance producer, merely collects and furnishes claim information and conducts data entry into an automated claims adjudication system. An automated claims adjudication system is defined as a preprogrammed computer system designed for the collection, data entry, calculation, and final resolution of portable electronics insurance claims. The system must comply with all requirements of the Insurance Code. A licensed adjuster or insurance producer is prohibited from supervising more than 25 inpiduals exempted from the adjuster's license requirement. The bill excludes portable electronics that are covered under the service contract statutes (ORS 646A.150 to 646A.172), warranties, maintenance agreements as defined in ORS 646A.152, or an insurance policy that covers the obligations of a vendor or a portable electronics manufacturer under a warranty.

  • Effective Date: Jan. 1, 2012