Commissioner's Corner



July/August 2021

Q. Do tornadoes happen in Wyoming?  If so, what should I do to protect my home from tornado damage?

A. Unfortunately, tornadoes can happen anywhere. Although you can’t do anything to prevent tornadoes from happening, you can prepare in advance and reduce your risks.  Tornado winds can exceed 200 miles per hour and can cause significant damage.  Most importantly, stay informed if weather conditions are favorable for a tornado to develop (tornado watch) and be prepared to take shelter immediately if a tornado warning is issued. The National Weather Service covers the entire state of Wyoming and is affiliated with 21 different stations in our state. Before weather conditions deteriorate, plan ahead by maintaining your yard, securing patio furniture and removing dead limbs and debris from trees.  Make a shelter plan with your family and know where you would seek shelter in the event of a tornado and what you will do with your pets.  Prepare a “Go Bag” which will contain important documents (including insurance), medications, and basic items.  Create a home inventory so you have a documented record of your belongings in the event that you suffer a loss. For more details please see the detailed public service announcement regarding tornado preparedness on the DOI homepage. 

Scientists report there is no observable increase in the number of strong tornadoes in the U.S. over the past few decades. At the same time, tornadoes have become more clustered, with outbreaks of multiple tornadoes becoming more common even as the overall number has remained unchanged.  However, there is some scientific evidence that tornado power has been increasing in recent years. 

                                                                Jeff Rude, Wyoming Insurance Commissioner



Guest Column - April 2020

by: Rep. Eric Barlow

I would like to thank the Insurance Commissioner for giving me this opportunity to give an update on the status of  air ambulance memberships in his Commissioner's Corner. In 2019, the Wyoming Legislature passed House Bill 194, Air Ambulance Coverage- Medicaid.  It had several components.  One was a provision allowing companies to offer subscription or membership plans relating to air ambulance transport services after they meet basic Department of Insurance standards just like other companies do.  These are basic consumer protection requirements so folks can be confident they will get what they are paying for. 

 

Most air ambulance providers were well aware of this change as they and their attorneys participated throughout the legislative process.  In fact, it was in part at their request that the 2019 legislation included the delayed implementation date of April 1, 2020.  This provided more than a year for interested companies to work with the Department of Insurance.  Additionally, earlier this year, the Department sent out reminder notices to the companies.  Finally, during the 2020 legislative session no one, including air ambulance companies, raised concerns with the law that would soon be coming into effect.

 

That brings us to where we find ourselves today.  The law has changed.  It allows subscription or membership plans relating to air ambulance transport services in Wyoming if they meet basic Department of Insurance standards, which are followed by others and are designed to protect consumers.  To date one company has chosen to provide Wyoming citizens this important healthcare option. Hopefully others will choose to do so." 


Commissioner’s Corner – Producer Question

Q.  Can the Department of Insurance provide an opinion whether an insurer is engaging in rebating or improper promotional or marketing activities?

A.  If you are an insurer or producer, you can submit a detailed written proposal to the department for review.  Please allow reasonable time for a review to be completed before instituting a program that might be considered a violation of state law. 

Below are the applicable Wyoming statutes:

W.S. §26-13-102. Unfair methods and deceptive acts prohibited.

No person shall engage in this state in any trade practice which is defined in this article as or is determined pursuant to this article to be an unfair method of competition or an unfair or deceptive act or practice in the business of insurance.

W.S. §26-13-110. Rebates and favors as to life, disability and annuity contracts prohibited.

(a)  Except as otherwise provided by law, no person shall:

    (i)  Knowingly permit or offer to make or make any contract of life insurance, life annuity or disability insurance, or agreement as to that contract other than as expressed in the contract issued thereon;

   (ii)  Pay, allow or give or offer to pay, allow or give in any manner as inducement to the insurance or annuity:

(A)  Any rebate of premiums payable on the contract;

(B)  Any special favor or advantage in the dividends or other benefits thereon;

(C)  Any paid employment or contract for services of any kind; or

(D)  Any valuable consideration or inducement not specified in the contract.

(iii)  In any manner give, sell or purchase or offer or agree to give, sell, purchase or allow as inducement to the insurance or annuity or in connection therewith, and whether or not to be specified in the policy or contract, any agreement of any form or nature promising:

(A)  Returns and profits;

(B)  Any stocks, bonds or other securities, or interest present or contingent therein or as measured thereby, of any insurer or other corporation, association or partnership; or

(C)  Any dividends or profits accrued or to accrue thereon.

W.S. §26-13-112. Unfair discrimination, rebates and favors prohibited for property, casualty and surety insurers.

(a)  No property, casualty or surety insurer or any employee or representative thereof, and no broker or agent shall pay, allow or give, or offer to pay, allow or give, in any manner, as an inducement to insurance, or after insurance has been effected, any valuable consideration or inducement of any kind not specified or provided for in the policy, except to the extent provided for in an applicable filing with the commissioner as provided by law.
Commissioner
Jeffrey P. Rudehttps://sites.google.com/a/wyo.gov/doi/commissioner-s-corner/rude%20jeff%20%282%29.JPG?attredirects=0
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