Opinion & Editorial

LTE: Bad faith laws

House Bills 3242 and 3243 are the wrong pieces of legislation at the wrong time. When too many Oregonians are struggling to afford housing, groceries, and medicine, legislators should not risk raising their insurance rates too. 

The bills would seriously disrupt our insurance market, undermining protections for families and small businesses and risking making insurance more expensive at a time Oregonians can least afford it. There’s a reason the Legislature has rejected similar legislation five times before. 

Based on the track record in other states, if these bills pass, lawsuits would rise significantly. They create new opportunities to sue and collect larger awards in court, letting attorneys file multiple lawsuits for a single claim. Maybe that’s good for the person suing or their lawyer, but it is bad for everyone else who buys home, auto, health or life insurance policies. The more it costs to fight lawsuits and settle claims, the less available and affordable insurance becomes for consumers.

Oregon already has one of the strongest consumer protection laws in the country, which allows the state to fine insurance companies and force them to pay claims – and even pay restitution to policyholders when they don’t follow the law.  This bill would steer consumers away from that cost-free service and into an exhausting deposition and litigation process that could delay settling their insurance claims for years. Meanwhile, consumers will pay more for insurance while personal injury lawyers profit. 

The Senators for our area will be critical to whether these bills move forward: we need them to hear from us that these are bad bills. Please ask our Senators to oppose House Bills 3242 and 3243.

Chris Walters
Springfield

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