As the law stands today, and for at least another session, for insurance companies, unfair and deceptive practices pay, and pay well indeed. The Legislature folded yet again.
But, sooner or later, we can win, and make the insurance industry follow the same rules as everyone else, because there is no good reason to exempt one of the most powerful and profitable industries from basic consumer protection laws. As Oregonians learn every day, the "good hands" folks and the "good neighbors" and the cute little lizards all have a way of turning into the toxic creeps once you are actually injured or damaged and they face the prospect of actually parting with some of the billions in premium dollars they love to collect. We didn't get it done in 2013; that ought to just make us even more determined to get it done in 2014.
Call or write your legislators now, as this session is ending. Tell them that you want the first bill introduced and passed next year to be a bill ending the special exemption from the UTPA for the insurance industry.
Here's a bit about the bill that would have gotten it done in 2013:
If there's one thing that every Oregonian can agree on, it's that there should be no one above the law.
But, unique to Oregon, we have a whole industry that has a special privilege given to no one else: Complete exemption from the rules against unlawful and deceptive trade practices.
And this isn't some little tiny industry that no one ever has to deal with. This is the biggest gorilla there is in Oregon, the behemoth that makes the big banks look like little corner grocery stores: the insurance industry.
This is the industry that supported laws making their products mandatory, and while they were at it, they bought themselves a sweet deal decades ago: Complete and total exemption from the consumer protection laws.
It's long past time that we brought them back into the fold and make them answerable to their customers for their abuses. Please, call, write, and email (all three if you can) to your senator and representative and tell Salem to End Special Privileges for Insurance Companies by passing HB 3160.