SENATE COMMITTEE ON BUSINESS AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

 

 

February 15, 2005                                                                                                   Hearing Room B

1:00 P.M.                                                                                                                     Tapes  22 - 23

 

MEMBERS PRESENT:         Sen. Rick Metsger, Chair

                                                Sen. Bruce Starr, Vice-Chair

                                                Sen. Jason Atkinson

Sen. Ryan Deckert

Sen. Laurie Monnes Anderson

 

 

STAFF PRESENT:                 Theresa Van Winkle, Committee Administrator

James Goulding, Committee Assistant

 

 

MEASURES/ISSUES HEARD:

                                                SB 207 – Public Hearing                               

                                                SB 151 – Public Hearing

                                                SB 336 – Public Hearing

                                                SB 462 – Public Hearing

 

 

These minutes are in compliance with Senate and House Rules.  Only text enclosed in quotation marks reports a speaker’s exact words.  For complete contents, please refer to the tapes.

 

TAPE/#

Speaker

Comments

TAPE 22, A

003

Chair Metsger

Calls the meeting to order at 1:04 p.m.  Opens a public hearing on SB 207.

SB 207 – PUBLIC HEARING

010

Kevin Neely

Oregon Department of Justice, Office of Attorney General.  Begins testimony in favor of SB 207.  Explains the details of the bill in protecting consumers from cancellation of insurance without proper notification. 

045

Sen. Vicki Walker

Senate District 7.  Testifies in favor of SB 207.  Relates experience of a car crash she was in.  Talks about the driver of the vehicle not having been properly notified of the termination of his insurance. 

080

Sen. Walker

Offers the ramifications of the incident.  Outlines how the bill would correct the issue.

120

Chair Metsger

Asks for clarification on e-mail return receipts.

125

Sen. Walker

Responds that it allows verification that an e-mail has been read.

135

Chair Metsger

Wonders why the individual was not notified of renewal.

140

Sen. Walker

States he was up for renewal, but he did not receive the proper notification.

155

Chair Metsger

Closes public hearing on SB 207.  Opens a public hearing on SB 151.

SB 151 – PUBLIC HEARING

170

Neil Jackson

Neil Jackson and Partners, Oregon Trial Lawyers Association.  Begins testimony in favor of SB 151.  Presents written testimony to the committee (EXHIBIT A). 

200

Jackson

Discusses the need for additional personal injury protection (PIP) in response to accidents and injuries.

230

Chair Metsger

Asks if rates have been changed since the 1983 session.

235

Jackson

Responds that, as far as he knows, most of the current minimum rates were set in 1983.

250

John Powell

John Powell & Associates.  Presents written testimony on SB 151 (EXHIBIT B).

280

Powell

Testifies in favor of amending the bill to prevent insurance rate increases for lower income customers.

320

Powell

Outlines the changes he would recommend to the bill.

350

Chair Metsger

Assumes that there are inflationary issues that need to be addressed.

360

Powell

Concurs with is his assumption.  Makes additional comments.

370

Sen. B. Starr

Voices his curiosity with the workings of the market.  Asks if consumers know about additional insurance protections that are available.

390

Powell

Replies that most insurance agents are careful to go over coverage options with consumers. 

415

Shawn Miller

Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI).  Explains his concerns with SB 151 as drafted.  Notes he is receptive to Mr. Powell’s proposed amendments.  Hopes that all parties can work together on this issue.

TAPE 23, A

005

Lana Butterfield

Safeco Insurance Company.  Presents written testimony on SB 151 (EXHIBIT C).

020

Chair Metsger

Remarks on her testimony in regards to policy rate increases resulting from this legislation.  Wonders how much insurance rates are raised every year while the same amount of coverage is provided.

027

Butterfield

Replies she does not know, but will get back to him with that information.

029

Chair Metsger

Asks if Mr. Miller has a response to that question.

030

Miller

Asks for clarification on the question.

035

Chair Metsger

Makes comments in regards to his concerns to insurance rate increases, while benefits go down or stay the same.      

047

Mike Colbach

Testifies on behalf of his client and in favor of SB 151, who was struck by a drunk driver and suffered severe injuries.  Disagrees with previous comments.

065

Chair Metsger

Points out PIP is only an element, but not the entire coverage available.

075

Colbach

Feels the amount provided should be proportionate.

080

Chair Metsger

Closes public hearing on SB 151.  Opens public hearing on SB 336.

SB 336 – PUBLIC HEARING

085

Senator Charlie Ringo

Senate District 17.  Testifies in favor of SB 336.

100

Neil Jackson

Neil Jackson and Partners, P.C.   Testifies in favor of SB 336.  Makes remarks on the details of the bill.  Outlines the inflation factor involved and that the PIP payment amounts have not kept up.  Demonstrates the price differential.

145

Sen. Monnes Anderson

Offers her concern that only lawyers have testified in favor of this.  Asks what percentage a lawyer takes from a trial.

150

Sen. Ringo

Discusses payment options.  States that lawyers generally take a third of the settlement, and will take more when the case actually goes to trial.

170

Sen. Ryan Deckert

Senate District 14.  Presents written testimony in favor of SB 336 (EXHIBIT D). 

200

Eric Rhodes

Testifies in favor of SB 336.  Describes an auto accident that left him and two relatives with massive injuries.  Points out the high medical costs involved.

235

Chair Metsger

Wonders who was at fault in the accident.

240

Rhodes

Outlines evidence that his vehicle was not at fault and the subsequent investigation. 

255

Chair Metsger

Asks about the guilty party’s level of insurance.

265

Rhodes

Relates that the driver at fault was under insured.  Makes note that his brother is disabled for life as a result of the accident. 

305

Chair Metsger

Wonders who is covering his treatments if the PIP is not.

320

Rhodes

Outlines the additional sources of insurance available.  Describes his concern that he would have to declare bankruptcy, which would hurt his chances for ever owning a home. 

325

Sen. Atkinson

Asks about his dealings with insurance companies.

335

Rhodes

States the insurance companies were reluctant to assist him.  Offers his written testimony to the committee (EXHIBIT E).

355

Tressa Anderson

Presents written testimony in favor of SB 336 (EXHIBIT F).  Relates the details of her accident and the aftermath.

380

Anderson

Relates additional details of the accident and insurance problems that followed.

TAPE 22, B

005

Anderson

Continues testimony in favor of raising PIP payment amounts.

015

Colbach

Gives additional testimony in favor of SB 336.

030

John Powell

John Powell & Associates.  Presents written testimony in opposition to SB 336 (EXHIBIT G).  Discusses the impact increased PIP payments would have on insurance rates.

060

Powell

Observes the correlation between higher insurance rates and number of uninsured drivers.

090

Shawn Miller

Property Casualty Insurers.  Testifies in opposition to SB 336, presents written testimony to the committee (EXHIBIT H).  Concurs with observations made by Mr. Powell that increasing the limits would increase the amount of uninsured drivers.

135

Chair Metsger

Observes that insurance rates have kept up with inflation, but the amount of coverage has not.

150

Powell

Asks for clarification on the question.

155

Chair Metsger

Wishes to know why the policy protections do not increase with policy rates.

160

Powell

Discusses claim averages, and the difficulty of covering extreme cases.  Feels average claims are covered well.  Details how the frequency of claims affects the cost.  Reiterates the problems of uninsured drivers.

180

Chair Metsger

Asks who is keeping statistics on driver insurance.

190

Powell

Notes that to get new license renewals one has to demonstrate proof of insurance.  Offers it is impractical to keep track of those that attain coverage only to cancel it after receiving a license renewal.  Discusses the money spent to keep track of uninsured drivers.

210

Chair Metsger

Considers that with the reduction in state police patrols, less uninsured drivers are being caught.

213

Powell

Responds that is a possibility.

215

Chair Metsger

Questions the reasoning for lower insurance requirements.

225

Powell

Feels that is another policy issue.  

227

Chair Metsger

Asks where State Farm would stand on that issue.

230

Powell

Observes State Farm would not be affected.

235

Miller

States he could check on other insurance company rates.

237

Chair Metsger

Feels it is a difficult problem to make sure everyone is covered and also to make sure the coverage is adequate and affordable.

240

Sen. Monnes Anderson

Asks for clarification about when current bodily injury rates were established.

250

Powell

Replies that he doesn’t know.

255

Sen. Deckert

Observes the insurance cost factor and that a solution is needed for those who need more assistance. 

270

Miller

Relays that they don’t have a position on this issue as yet.  Points out that is an issue that needs to be addressed.

275

Powell

States the limitations involved in coverage.

305

Sen. Deckert

Notes that a work group might be needed to address these problems.  Feels a well thought out solution is needed.

320

Sen. B. Starr

Voices similar concerns over catastrophic coverage.  Asks if additional coverage could be purchased.  Wonders about additional legal remedies to go after the guilty parties.

335

Powell

Replies that those who have substantial assets often purchase extra insurance to prevent excessive liability.

345

Sen. Monnes Anderson

Wonders about rate setting by the legislature.  Brings up the example of the Public Utility Commission.  Asks if the legislature has set rates in the past.

360

Powell

Responds that the minimum limits were established by the legislature.

380

Sen. Monnes Anderson

Asks about Alaska and Maine’s rate changes.

390

Powell

Notes that rate changes in those states occurred recently.

400

Chair Metsger

Closes the public hearing on SB 336.  Opens a public hearing on SB 462.

SB 462 – PUBLIC HEARING

405

Sarah Reeder

Oregon Dental Service (ODS).  Explains the function of ODS and its client base.  Explains the purpose of SB 462.

TAPE 23, B

003

Jon Jurevic

Senior Vice President of Finance ODS.  Testifies in favor of SB 462.

040

James Kennedy

Legal counsel ODS.  Present written testimony (EXHIBIT I) in favor of SB 462.

090

Chair Metsger

Discusses the bill as he understands it. 

100

Sen. Monnes Anderson

Considers ODS investment practices.  Asks if the measure will limit their investment activity.

105

Kennedy

Replies prior investments will be grandfathered and establish post transition limits.

110

Sen. Monnes Anderson

Wonders if this legislation could have adverse effects on ODS investment ability.

115

Kennedy

Notes the impact is adverse on ODS, but they are willing to support it as long as there is a transition period. 

125

Sen. Deckert

Observes the amount of ORS citations contained in the written testimony.

135

Chair Metsger

Feels Sen. Monnes Anderson made some very valid points. Notes some details he has observed.

150

Carl Lundberg

Deputy Administrator, Insurance Division, Department of Consumer and Business Services (DCBS).  Submits written testimony on behalf of Administrator Joel Ario (EXHIBIT J).  Testifies in support of SB 462. 

180

Lundberg

Discusses current investment standards for health care service providers.  Observes their standards are far less strict than the standards for insurance companies.

210

Chair Metsger

Clarifies that they have had contact with other health service providers.

215

Lundberg

Affirms they have.  Notes changes from similar legislative efforts in previous sessions.

220

Chair Metsger

Makes concluding remarks on the bill.  Closes public hearing on SB 462.  Adjourns committee at 2:46 p.m.

 

 

EXHIBIT SUMMARY

 

  1. SB 151, Written testimony, Neil Jackson, 2 pp                  
  2. SB 151, Written testimony, John Powell, 4 pp
  3. SB 151, Written testimony, Lana Butterfield, 1 p
  4. SB 336, Written testimony, Ryan Deckert, 1 p
  5. SB 336, Written testimony, Eric Rhodes,  8 pp
  6. SB 336, Written testimony, Tressa Anderson, 1 p
  7. SB 336, Written testimony, John Powell, 4 pp
  8. SB 336, Written testimony, Shawn Miller, 1 p
  9. SB 462, Written testimony, James Kennedy, 2 pp
  10. SB 462, Written testimony of Joel Ario, Carl Lundberg, 2 pp