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Companies must insure in low-fire-risk areas

Press release

HELENA — State Auditor Troy Downing, who regulates insurance and investments for the state, put insurance companies on notice this week that his office will aggressively pursue insurance companies that deny coverage in low-risk fire areas.

An Advisory Memorandum sent to companies Aug. 14 states that any refusal to renew or issue policies based on wildfire risks for properties not located in high-risk fire areas violates Montana Insurance Code.

“As a consumer protection agency, it is our job to hold insurance companies accountable. We will pursue any insurance company that illegally and unfairly discriminates and breaks our laws,” Downing said. “Insurers are expected to determine risk on a case-by-case basis. Illegally denying coverage or not renewing policies on false pretense will not be tolerated.”

The auditor’s office received multiple complaints from consumers, with properties in low-risk fire areas, regarding insurers refusing to write business or renew policies due to alleged wildfire risk. According to the Memorandum, some insurers refused to offer coverage in the city of Missoula due to the Seeley Lake fire.

Commissioner Downing urges any Montanan who knows of insurers refusing to issue or renew a policy based on irrelevant wildfire claims to make a report to the CSI. Reports can be filed at CSIMT.gov or by calling 406-444-2040. 

 

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