Proposed Oregon Insurance "Bad Faith" Legislation
By Lloyd Bernstein
To those of you writing policies and/or handling claims in Oregon, we want to bring to your attention two recently proposed Insurance Bad Faith bills in the 2019 Legislative Session:
HB 2421 – In addition to creating a dispute resolution procedure before the Director of the Department of Consumer and Business Services, the bill creates a direct cause of action against insurers for alleged violations of the Insurance Code and allows for the award of actual damages, equitable relief, punitive damages, injunctive relief and/or attorney fees. To date, the bill has been referred to the House Committee on Business and Labor with no hearings currently scheduled.
LC 3281 – Amends the existing Unlawful Trade Practices Act to include claims for violations of ORS 746.230 – Insurance Unfair Claim Settlement Practices ("UCSP"). Under this bill, an action can be brought against an insurer that allegedly violates the UCSP and allows for the award of actual damages, equitable relief, injunctive relief and/or attorney fees. And if a violation is found, there is also the potential for a civil penalty of up $10,000 per violation. To date, this bill remains with the Legislative Council and has not yet been referred to a Senate committee.
We will continue to track this legislation and report back if either piece of legislation makes any significant progress. Please feel free to contact me directly with any questions.