The Oregon Division of Financial Regulation has determined that certain property and casualty insurers should extend timelines for policyholders who suffered losses during the 2020 wildfire season and who have been unable to rebuild or replace property due to circumstances outside their control.
The bulletin applies to property and casualty insurers who write homeowners policies that specifically contain a time limit of less than three years for rebuilding a home, replacing contents, or both. The bulletin outlines the communications now required between these insurers and their policyholders who still have active claims almost two years after the wildfires. These insurers are directed to extend the rebuilding timeline and content replacement timeline if the delay has been due to circumstances beyond the insured’s control. They are also directed to notify policyholders of any extension by Aug. 30.
For policyholders not being granted an extension until at least Sept. 30, 2023, insurers are required to report certain information to the division, including an explanation why the insurer refused to grant an extension after a thorough examination. The division will continue to monitor the division situation to ensure that all policyholders are protected and allowed a reasonable time to rebuild and replace contents given the extreme difficulties they have faced. The division has the authority to take action against any insurer who unreasonably declines to extend timelines.
The findings and background of the bulletin speak to the widespread destruction of property, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, global supply chain issues, and, consequently, the disruption of normal operations across the state for a prolonged period.
“The 2020 wildfires caused heartbreaking losses, and the recovery process has taken longer than it should due to circumstances completely out of homeowners’ control,” said Insurance Commissioner Andrew Stolfi. “Our actions today are meant to provide wildfire survivors with the certainty they deserve . After nearly two years of struggling to rebuild in the face of unprecedented challenges, every homeowner should be given the time they need to finish recovering.”
The bulletin can be found at https://dfr.oregon.gov/laws-rules/Documents/Bulletins/bulletin2022-03.pdf and is effective immediately.
Source: Oregon Division of Financial Regulation