SENATE COMMITTEE ON BUSINESS AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

 

 

March 29, 2005                                                                                                       Hearing Room B

1:00 P.M.                                                                                                                     Tapes  50 - 51

 

MEMBERS PRESENT:         Sen. Rick Metsger, Chair

Sen. Bruce Starr, Vice-Chair

Sen. Ryan Deckert

Sen. Laurie Monnes Anderson

 

MEMBER EXCUSED:          Sen. Jason Atkinson

 

 

STAFF PRESENT:                 Theresa Van Winkle, Committee Administrator

James Goulding, Committee Assistant

 

 

MEASURES/ISSUES HEARD:

                                                SB 949 – Public Hearing

                                                SB 950 – Public Hearing

                                                SB 951 – Public Hearing

                                                SB 952 – Public Hearing                                                                                                                    SB 923 – Public Hearing and Work Session

                                                SB 924 – Public Hearing and Work Session

                                                SB 925 – Public Hearing and Work Session

                                                SB 926 – Public Hearing and Work Session

                                                SB 922 – 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 50, A

003

Chair Metsger

Calls the committee to order at 1:03 p.m.  Notes they have a number of related insurance bills that they will hold testimony on simultaneously.  Opens a public hearing on SB 949, SB 950, SB 951, SB 952.

SB 949, SB 950, SB 951, SB 952 – PUBLIC HEARING

011

Chair Metsger

Observes the -1 amendments to SB 949 (EXHIBIT A), and the -1 amendments to SB 951 (EXHIBIT B), that have been given to the committee members.

021

Neil Jackson

Oregon Trial Lawyers Association.  Testifies in favor of SB 949.  Provides backgrounds for the measures and some history of legal cases.  Presents written testimony on SB 949 (EXHIBIT C). 

057

John Powell

State Farm Insurance and Liberty Northwest.  Defers to Mr. Murrell to speak to the particulars of the bills before the committee.  Notes the insurance rate increases that would result from passage of these bills.

067

Steve Murrell

Attorney, State Farm Insurance.  Testifies in opposition to SB 949.  Remarks on their arbitration policies.

095

Murrell

Discusses the arbitration process and how it functions.  Describes the uniform trial court rules as they would apply to arbitration cases.

120

Sen. Monnes Anderson

Questions how many claims State Farm has and how many of those are arbitrated.

125

Murrell

Estimates that arbitrated cases number in the hundreds and that most do not require it.

127

Chair Metsger

Inquires which changes Mr. Murrell is most concerned about.

130

Murrell

Replies the rules of evidence changes concern him most.

133

Chair Metsger

Asks about the industry standards for arbitration.  Considers the proposed standard.

143

Murrell

Notes that in certain scenarios it is beneficial.  Feels it would be nice to have it as an option.

150

Jackson

Concurs with Mr. Murrell.  Offers that in some cases it would be beneficial. 

157

Chair Metsger

Solicits his opinion on the standards of evidence.

159

Jackson

Replies that most insurance companies use the standards already.

170

Sen. B. Starr

Wonders what the average arbitration cost is.

175

Murrell

Offers that they vary greatly, and that very few hearings last more than one day. 

181

Sen. B. Starr

Asks for an estimated cost.

183

Murrell

Estimates the cost.

185

Sen. B. Starr

Questions who would be responsible for the cost.

187

Murrell

Explains the cost break down.

188

Sen. B. Starr

Wonders how the measure would change this.

189

Jackson

Replies it would not address this particular part of the process.

193

Chair Metsger

Considers the extra costs involved.

197

Murrell

Responds in regards to quality of the process.

203

Chair Metsger

Asks to hear their thoughts on SB 950.

207

Jackson

Presents written testimony in support of SB 950 (EXHIBIT D).   Mentions some amendments being drafted to the measure.

240

Jackson

Further describes the function of the measure in recovery of PIP costs.

277

Murrell

Testifies with his concerns on SB 950.   Describes current recovery methods. 

310

Murrell

Details the problems he observes with SB 950.

325

Chair Metsger

Asks Mr. Jackson to address some of the points brought up by Mr. Murrell.

330

Jackson

Disagrees with some of Mr. Murrell’s interpretations.

365

Chair Metsger

Considers how widespread the problem is.

377

Sen. B. Starr

Asks if Mr. Murrell would be willing to support the amendments Mr. Jackson is drafting.

380

Murrell

States he would have to see the amendments, notes some other changes that could be made.

393

Chair Metsger

Hopes that they can reach a solution on SB 950.  Asks Mr. Jackson to testify on SB 951.

395

Jackson

Presents written testimony in support of SB 951 (EXHIBIT E).

420

Chair Metsger

Clarifies if the measure would cover the children of individuals involved in an accident.

430

Sen. Monnes Anderson

Asks if it would apply to non relatives.

TAPE 51, A

003

Jackson

Clarifies that it only applies to members of a family living in the same household.  Continues describing SB 951.

025

Murrell

Offers that auto insurance is not the only solution.  Describes the current law and previous case decisions.  Relates his opposition to SB 951.

055

Murrell

Talks about current state laws and their functions.  Observes the problems with transferring insurance responsibility between victims.

077

Chair Metsger

Brings up his concerns over the fraud possibilities.

091

Powell

Clarifies that coverage in the auto policy covers all those areas.  Notes the limitations on the liability portion of the policy. 

110

Chair Metsger

Questions the tort issues with the state.

113

Jackson

Notes that it is statutory

115

Chair Metsger

Wonders what his thoughts would be in regards to changes that could be made to that law.

117

Jackson

Discusses personal responsibility and liability.

129

Sen. B. Starr

Notes his concern over premium costs.  Wonders what the passage of this bill would do to rates. 

137

Murrell

Describes the calculation of premium rates and potential impacts.

150

Sen. B. Starr

Asks for a ball park figure.

153

Murrell

Replies he would have to get back to him with that.

155

Sen. B. Starr

Makes additional liability observations.

157

Murrell

Agrees.

160

Chair Metsger

Moves the discussion to SB 952.

165

Jackson

Presents written testimony in favor of SB 952 (EXHIBIT F).

195

Jackson

Continues to describe and support SB 952.

225

Murrell

Offers testimony in opposition to SB 952.  Explains his interpretation of the current state of the law in regards to recovery of damages.

260

Murrell

Relates further concerns.

       The following prepared testimony is submitted for the record without public testimony:

 

Eric Rhodes

Written testimony in support of SB 951 (EXHIBIT G).

290

Chair Metsger

Closes public hearing on SB 949, SB 950, SB 951, and SB 952.   Opens a public hearing on SB 922, SB 923, SB 924, SB 925, SB 926.

SB 922, SB 923, SB 924, SB 925, SB 926 – PUBLIC HEARING

300

Chair Metsger

Organizes the order of testimony. 

320

Wendy Johnson

Oregon Law Commission.  Describes her job and functions of the commission.

360

Johnson

Relays the bills before them and the origins behind them. 

390

Johnson

Presents her report to the committee on SB 922 (EXHIBIT H), SB 923 (EXHIBIT I), SB  924 (EXHIBIT J), SB  925 (EXHIBIT K), and SB 926 (EXHIBIT L).  Defers to the testimony of her colleagues.

400

Joel DeVore

Attorney, Luvaas Cobb, P.C.  Testifies in support of SB 923.  Expresses his views on the car insurance industry.

TAPE 50, B

005

DeVore

Discusses his background representing claims.  Feels SB 923 finishes what previous legislation started.

035

DeVore

Talks about overlooked statute language that this measure will correct.

053

Murrell

Notes that State Farm Insurance already practices the changes that would be made by SB 923, and would not be affected.

063

Jackson

Supports the measure and provides written testimony on SB 923 (EXHIBIT M).

070

Chair Metsger

Notes the -1 amendment to SB 923 (EXHIBIT N).

073

Murrell

Explains the changes that would be made by the amendment.

088

Chair Metsger

Closes public hearings on SB 922, SB 923, SB 924, SB 925, and SB 926.  Opens a work session on SB 923.

SB 923 – WORK SESSION

093

Sen. B. Starr

MOTION:  Moves to ADOPT SB 923-1 amendments dated 03/24/05.

095

 

VOTE:  3-0-2

EXCUSED:  2 - Atkinson, Deckert

 

Chair Metsger

Hearing no objection, declares the motion CARRIED.

096

Sen. B. Starr

MOTION:  Moves SB 923 to the floor with a DO PASS AS AMENDED recommendation.

097

 

VOTE:  3-0-2

EXCUSED:  2 - Atkinson, Deckert

 

Chair Metsger

Hearing no objection, declares the motion CARRIED.

SEN. METSGER will lead discussion on the floor.

099

Chair Metsger

Closes work session on SB 923.  Opens public hearing on SB 924.

SB 924 – PUBLIC HEARING

101

DeVore

Explains SB 924.  Talks about insurance policy issues that occur when vehicles are stolen and injure the owner.

130

DeVore

Discusses collection for injuries when you are injured by your own vehicle while drive by somebody else.  Details the concept of “phantom cars”, or a vehicle that causes an accident to occur even without impacting another car.

137

Murrell

Covers a few additional points on SB 924.

161

Jackson

Submits testimony in support of SB 924 (EXHIBIT O).

175

Chair Metsger

Closes public hearing on SB 924.  Opens a work session on SB 924.

SB 924 – WORK SESSION

176

Sen. B. Starr

MOTION:  Moves SB 924 to the floor with a DO PASS recommendation.

178

 

VOTE:  4-0-1

EXCUSED:  1 – Atkinson

 

Chair Metsger

Hearing no objection, declares the motion CARRIED.

SEN. B. STARR will lead discussion on the floor.

179

Chair Metsger

Closes work session on SB 924.  Opens a public hearing on SB 925.

SB 925 – PUBLIC HEARING

180

DeVore

Explains the provisions of SB 925. 

207

Murrell

Comments on the measure, stating no objections.

210

Jackson

Offers testimony in support SB 925.

229

Chair Metsger

Closes public hearing on SB 925.  Opens work session on SB 925.

SB 925– WORK SESSION

232

Sen. B. Starr

MOTION:  Moves SB 925 to the floor with a DO PASS recommendation.

233

 

VOTE:  4-0-1

EXCUSED:  1 – Atkinson

 

Chair Metsger

Hearing no objection, declares the motion CARRIED.

SEN. DECKERT will lead discussion on the floor.

236

Chair Metsger

Closes work session on SB 925.  Opens a public hearing on SB 926.

SB 926 – PUBLIC HEARING

237

DeVore

Outlines the purpose of SB 926.

263

Murrell

Provides additional comments on the measure before the committee.

271

Jackson

Presents his written testimony on SB 926 (EXHIBIT P).

291

Chair Metsger

Closes public hearing on SB 926.  Opens a work session on SB 926.

SB 926 – WORK SESSION

293

Sen. B. Starr

MOTION:  Moves SB 926 to the floor with a DO PASS recommendation.

295

 

VOTE:  4-0-1

EXCUSED:  1 – Atkinson

 

Chair Metsger

Hearing no objection, declares the motion CARRIED.

SEN. MONNES ANDERSON will lead discussion on the floor.

297

Chair Metsger

Closes work session on SB 926.  Opens a public hearing on SB 922.

SB 922 – PUBLIC HEARING

299

DeVore

Describes the provisions of SB 922.

TAPE 51, B

005

DeVore

Continues to detail SB 922.

020

Murrell

Notes the important public policy changes made by SB 922.

035

Jackson

Presents written testimony on the measure (EXHIBIT Q).

057

Chair Metsger

Considers a scenario involving a rental car and insurance coverage.

069

Jackson

Observes problems with the scenario.

075

Murrell

Concurs with Mr. Jackson’s statement.  Mentions related laws in Idaho.

081

DeVore

Mentions some of the related laws in other states

090

Sen. Deckert

Asks if this measure would allow Oregon to the laws of other states.

091

DeVore

Notes the law would be similar to what other states have in place.

100

Jim Gardner

Hertz Rent-A-Car.  Testifies in opposition to elements of SB 922.  Clarifies their rental car insurance policies. 

130

Gardner

References a related legal case involving Snappy Car Rental. 

141

Chair Metsger

Asks for clarification of which section of the bill that he disagrees with.

143

Gardner

Advocates an industry workgroup to amend the policy.

180

Murrell

Mentions that Hertz does have a progressive policy, and that they are an exception to the rule.  Talks about the details of insurance coverage.

200

Gardner

Replies he will assess Mr. Murrell’s findings.

203

Chair Metsger

Summarizes that Mr. Gardner feels there are unintended consequences to the legislation.  Asks that they work to clarify the language.

210

Gardner

Agrees and offer additional comments.

225

DeVore

Notes that it would be relatively simple to amend the language to address Mr. Gardner’s concerns.

240

Murrell

Discusses the primary and secondary insurance needs in regard to rental cars.

247

DeVore

States he will work to address the concerns.

250

Sen. Deckert

Feels Hertz has a good policy to deal with this issue.

255

Chair Metsger

Remarks that they are close to an agreement on SB 922.  Asks that they work out a compromise.  Closes the public hearing on SB 922.  Adjourns committee at 2:49 p.m.

 

 

EXHIBIT SUMMARY

 

  1. SB 949, -1 amendments, staff, 1 p
  2. SB 951, -1 amendments, staff, 1 p
  3. SB 949, Written testimony, Neil Jackson, 1 p
  4. SB 950, Written testimony, Neil Jackson, 1 p
  5. SB 951, Written testimony, Neil Jackson, 2 pp
  6. SB 952, Written testimony, Neil Jackson, 1 p
  7. SB 951, Written testimony, Eric Rhodes, 4 pp
  8. SB 922, Written testimony, Wendy Johnson, 4 pp
  9. SB 923, Written testimony, Wendy Johnson, 4 pp
  10. SB 924, Written testimony, Wendy Johnson, 4 pp
  11. SB 925, Written testimony, Wendy Johnson, 3 pp
  12. SB 926, Written testimony, Wendy Johnson, 3 pp
  13.  SB 922, Written testimony, Neil Jackson, 1 p
  14.  SB 923, Written testimony, Neil Jackson, 1 p
  15.  SB 923, -1 amendments, staff, 1 p
  16.  SB 924, Written testimony, Neil Jackson, 1 p
  17.  SB 926, Written testimony, Neil Jackson, 1 p