As the least populated state in the Union it is not surprising that Wyoming is also the smallest insurance office in the country. The Wyoming Department of Insurance has twenty-seven employees that handle everything from licensing to consumer complaints. The agency works with legislators and state agencies on issues that may affect insurance consumers and our state.
The Wyoming Department of Insurance (DOI) regulates insurance companies, multiple employer welfare arrangements, risk retentions and purchasing groups, motor clubs, service contract providers, preneed funeral homes, agents, brokers adjusters, consultants, pharmacy benefit managers and third party administrator. We also approve policy filings, investigate consumer complaints, monitor financial conditions and solvency of insurance companies and collect premium and surplus lines taxes. The DOI does not regulate insurance rates for most types of insurance.
The Commissioner of Insurance is the agency’s chief officer. The commissioner is appointed by the Governor and serves at the pleasure of the Governor. The commissioner, with the Governor’s approval, may appoint a deputy commissioner. Our current Insurance Commissioner is Jeffrey Rude and Tana Howard is the agency’s deputy commissioner.
The statutes that govern insurance in the state of Wyoming can be found in Title 26-Insurance Code. The statutes can be accessed by visiting https://www.wyoleg.gov/StateStatutes/StatutesConstitution and clicking on the link for Wyoming Statutes Annotated. The rules for the agency can be found at the Secretary of State’s website https://rules.wyo.gov/ Department of Insurance (044).
Jeff Rude, Wyoming Insurance Commissioner
During the 2023 legislative session, the DOI monitored eighteen bills. Of those eighteen, ten were passed into law. You can view the bills and the changes that were made by visiting the Legislative Service Office website and select 2023 bills. The 2024 session is a budget session, but we expect to follow a few bills through the process.
The DOI also did extensive outreach during 2023. Public Service Announcements are published each month in statewide papers. Some of the topics in 2023 were choosing an agent, preparing for severe weather, and information regarding the Medicaid unwind. Additionally, the agency did presentations and articles for Cover Wyoming, AARP and AWIA.
In 2023, the agency brought in over $50 million to the general fund from licensing fees and premium taxes. The agency also collected $55,736 in fines. These fines were collected from both agents and companies.
The agency was also busy with licensing applications and form reviews. The licensing section issued 42,773 licenses and manually processed 5,026 applications. The Rate and Form filing section reviewed 1,520 Life & Health filings and 2, 225 Property & Casualty filings. The licensing section consists of three employees and the rate and form filing section has five employees.
Our legal section was busy revising rules. They revised Chapters 10, 64, 54, 55, 28 and 68. Once again you can find these rules on the Secretary of State’s website. They also handled eighty public records requests and opened 65 administrative matters.
The agency also has a complaint section. This section handles complaints regarding improper denial of claims; delays in claim handling; cancelation or termination of an insurance policy or misrepresentation of policy coverage or misappropriation of premiums paid to an agent or broker. The section cannot act as legal representation, recommend an insurance agency, agency or policy, determine property value, regulate rates, make an insurance company insure you, decide who is as fault for an accident, force a company to pay your claims or decide the amount of loss. During 2023 the section received 1,459 complaints and closed 1,453.
Also of significance this year is the DOI successfully passed NAIC accreditation. The NAIC Financial Regulation Standards and Accreditation Program (Accreditation Program) serves as the backbone of the U.S. national system of state-based regulation. The Accreditation Program defines baseline standards deemed essential for effective solvency regulation in each state. Accreditation assures states are regulating their domestic multistate insurers according to national standards agreed to by the NAIC. For the insurance industry, accreditation means insurers will not require additional independent exams from the other states in which the insurers do business.
Jeff Rude, Wyoming Insurance Commissioner