Wash. Gov’t Takes Pro-Business Steps Toward Regulatory Modernization

May 3, 2005

In what may become a significant step toward regulatory modernization of property and casualty insurance in Washington state, the governor has signed into law legislation sought by the Office of Insurance Commissioner that could help businesses more quickly access commercial insurance policies, the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI) reports.

The bill, HB 1197, includes a provision granting authority to the state’s Office of Insurance Commissioner to allow insurers to issue commercial (business) insurance policies without prior review and approval from the Insurance Department. HB 1197 was enacted during the recently concluded legislative session and was signed into law by Gov. Christine Gregoire on April 28.

Kenton Brine, PCI’s Olympia-based regional manager, said the legislation is narrowly drawn to impact commercial insurance policies only, and may be narrowed further by administrative rule to impact only those policies with premiums over $100,000, to mirror current statutes and regulations governing commercial insurance rate filings. But Brine congratulated the department, the Legislature and governor for moving the state closer to a more competitive market.

“This is a step in the right direction – and we hope it is a sign of things to come,” Brine said, noting that PCI testified in favor of the provision during the legislative session.

“Other states have taken more comprehensive steps toward regulatory modernization, moved further than Washington in allowing insurers to compete, and those states’ consumers have benefited from the increased competition, with more carriers and pricing options in the market. We hope this expansion of open competition in Washington’s commercial lines market is a sign that the Office of Insurance Commissioner will consider regulatory modernization in personal lines as well.”

Under HB 1197, the insurance commissioner may exempt certain commercial property and casualty forms from filing requirements. The law will be effective in July. But, the specifics of which forms may be exempted will be determined by the Office of Insurance Commissioner through the rulemaking process later this summer or fall.

Topics Legislation Washington

Was this article valuable?

Here are more articles you may enjoy.