Since June 2018, Washington state has allowed property insurance carriers to provide up to $1,500 in risk-mitigation goods and services to non-commercial customers per year. The goal is to help reduce property risk and, by extension, claims and the resulting costs. Now, at the request of some insurers, the state’s Office of the Insurance Commissioner (OIC) is considering raising the limit on the value from $1,500 to $7,500.
As part of its review of the potential change, the OIC is asking for public comment and holding an online public hearing to allow interested parties to voice their opinions. Below, we provide details on how to share your thoughts about the proposed rule change with the OIC and background information on the original legislation.
How to submit your comments
How to attend the public hearing
The public hearing will be held online on October 30, 2020 at 9 a.m. You can register to participate through the OIC’s Zoom form.
How to learn more about the proposed rule change
The OIC has created a webpage with resources on the proposed rulemaking, including previously submitted comments and links to several relevant documents.
The OIC has also produced a preliminary cost-benefit analysis of the change; the analysis is publicly available by emailing David Forte at the OIC. Here are some excerpts from the preliminary analysis:
- In 2019, the OIC surveyed more than 125 insurance companies offering personal property insurance coverage in the state.
- Twelve insurance companies responded that they already offer or plan to offer risk-mitigation goods and services to customers in Washington state.
- Of those 12, 10 expressed desire for a higher limit.
- The OIC notes that the rule change will not impose new mandated costs on insurers because the provision of goods and services is entirely voluntary.
- The OIC’s analysis also states that the potential benefits of the rule change to insurance companies and their customers are likely to outweigh any costs.
Background information on the legislation
The legislation is intended to help both insurance carriers and consumers benefit from products and services that can reduce property risk.
For example, water damage can cause thousands of dollars of damage to a home, due to ice dams, frozen pipes, leaking supply lines or deteriorated caulking. Low-tech prevention measures such as valve insulation, regularly replaced lines or new caulking can all help prevent expensive claims. High-tech products also offer protection and don’t have to cost much. Smart water-leak detectors alert users of potential leaks and make it easier to address the problem before it causes major damage.
You can also learn more about the original legislation that introduced the option for insurers to provide risk-mitigation goods and services in our white paper on the topic.