SALEM, OR -- Insurance companies do not plan to use the statewide wildfire risk map to determine their rates, according to Oregon’s consumer protection agency. Mark Peterson, with the Department of Consumer and Business Services, says they’d had informal conversations with companies before the original map was released in July, "Once the concerns were raised during some of the public listening sessions about the map, we decided to put out a formal ‘data call,’ which is a formal inquiry that insurers are required by law to answer truthfully. What we found is that all of the insurers responded that they don’t use the map for rating and underwriting and they have no plans to use it." He tells KBND News, "The thing with the insurance companies is that they’ve been using their own maps and their other risk management tools to assess things like wildfire risk, for years."
Because the situation could cause confusion, DCBS urges insurance agents to be honest and careful how they describe underwriting decisions. "We obviously take any policy cancellations very seriously," says Peterson, "And if consumers have concerns they can contact our Division of Financial Regulations Consumer Advocacy Hotline." That number is 888-877-4894. You can also file a complaint at dfr.oregon.gov.