Bill Would Set Limits on “Look-Back” of Home Insurance Claims

csimt 2015, Insurance, Legislature, Press Release

Hearing scheduled for Friday

HELENA, Mont. – Montana homeowners may avoid home insurance policy non-renewals or premium increases if a consumer protection effort put forth by Montana Insurance Commissioner Monica J. Lindeen passes.

Senate Bill 84, sponsored by Sen. Mary McNally, D-Billings, would set a five year look-back limit to the adverse claims history insurance companies can review when deciding to renew or increase insurance premiums on a policy of homeowners insurance. Current law allows insurance companies to look-back as far as they want, which means homeowners could be rated on a claim from two decades prior.

The bill stemmed from complaints received at the Office of the Commissioner of Securities and Insurance, Montana State Auditor. Homeowners were receiving notice that their insurance company had decided against renewal of their home insurance policy because their home was located in an area that was hit by bad storms. More than 15 official written complaints were filed with the office after the hail storm in Billings in May of 2014.

Bad and unpredictable weather is part of Montana life. We are tough enough to handle it, but our home insurance policy laws are not,”  Lindeen said. “Montana homeowners should not be put at a disadvantage because they had to file an insurance claim due to bad weather.”

This bill is not a new idea. In Montana auto insurance companies can only look at the last three years of claims for issuing policies, renewals, or determining rates.

The bill is scheduled to have a hearing before the Senate Business and Labor Committee at the Capitol in Room 422 at 8 a.m. on Friday, January 23, 2015.