June 5, 2014
COLUMBUS — Lieutenant Governor and Department of Insurance Director Mary Taylor announced passage of significant reforms to Ohio’s insurance law. Specifically, Senate Bill 140 makes changes to Ohio’s insurance laws to maintain the strength and competitiveness of Ohio’s insurance marketplace while also providing new consumer protections.
“These changes are among the most sweeping and impactful insurance reforms to pass the Ohio Legislature in years,” Taylor said. “Ohio has one of the most competitive insurance markets in the country providing consumers with choice and accessibility. Senate Bill 140 will build on that strong foundation and further improve the environment for the industry to succeed and grow while ensuring strong consumer protections are still the cornerstone of our regulatory mission. I want to thank Senate President Faber, House Speaker Batchelder, Chairmen Hughes and Hacket, Leaders Schiavoni and Heard and the bill’s sponsors Senator Bacon and Representative Kunze for ensuring these changes were considered and developed in a thoughtful and bipartisan way.”
Among the changes included in SB 140 is the inclusion of a one-page summary document a consumer can refer to when they wish to get an overview of what is included in their insurance policy. Policy summaries came about as a result of Superstorm Sandy when it was discovered that many homeowners did not completely understand what was included in their policy. This provision will make it easier for Ohioans to understand what is in their policy in a more efficient and effective way.
Also included is an electronic delivery provision that will provide consumers secure access to information about their policy through newer means of technology. This would include using a desktop computer, mobile device or tablet to access their policy or receive updates regarding any changes to their coverage.
The legislation includes provisions that ensure Ohio’s national accreditation by modernizing provisions related to an insurer’s own risk self-assessment, credit for reinsurance, model holding companies and regulation of the investments insurers are permitted to make. These changes will help the industry operate more efficiently by updating portions of Ohio law that were outdated in some cases, while ensuring the Department of Insurance has strong oversight and additional regulatory tools needed to protect consumers.
Having passed the House and the Senate, Senate Bill 140 now awaits Governor John Kasich’s signature.