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Viewpoint: 2023 legislative session strengthened North Dakota’s insurance industry

I want to share some highlights from this session affecting our state’s insurance industry.

Jon Godfread
Contributed / Jon Godfread

You’ve no doubt read the headlines about this legislative session. The past four months have been a rollercoaster of bills and legislative priorities. As the 68th Legislative Assembly has wrapped up and gone home, I want to share some highlights from this session affecting our state’s insurance industry.

Your Legislature has made a big step forward in fire safety. With the passage of SB 2211, we’re providing all the funding that is meant for the fire service back to local fire departments and districts. The funds from insurance premium taxes have been directed to the state’s General Fund for far too long. This money belongs to the fire service, and I’m glad the Legislature agreed. Local fire departments are able to utilize these funds in ways that can lead to better response, which can result in a reduction in insurance premiums. On top of that, the Office of the State Fire Marshal will join the Insurance Department this summer.

This session gave pharmacists a greater hands-on approach to medication management, especially for those with diabetes and other chronic illnesses. This will help lessen potential hospital stays and put your care first.

The Legislature permitted nonprofit agricultural organizations to establish a health care coverage plan. This is not insurance, nor does my office regulate it. But it does give farmers and ranchers another option while confronting the rising cost of providing health care to their families.

The North Dakota Insurance Department participated in Gov. Burgum’s “Red Tape Reduction” initiative to help lessen overburdensome regulations in the insurance industry while ensuring consumer protections are a priority.

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By law, delivery drivers will now be required to carry the proper auto insurance coverage when on the clock for apps like DoorDash and UberEats, which will protect all drivers on our roads.

Insurance companies cannot refuse to charge an individual or organization more based solely on environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria without the full backing of an actuarial and risk-based analysis.

Lastly, I invite you to check out the legal notices section of your local newspaper. You may (or may not) find an abstract statement for an insurance company there. If you are unable to find them in your local newspaper, feel free to reach out to that newspaper and ask for a copy, or you can always find them on insurance.nd.gov.

Overall, this session was successful and will undoubtedly strengthen North Dakota’s insurance industry, making it more competitive for companies while keeping consumers in mind. Although the insurance issues outlined here may not always make the front page coming out of Bismarck, they are no less important. I want to thank the 68th Legislative Assembly for their time and careful consideration of these issues, as well as their continued commitment to the citizens and insurance consumers of North Dakota.

Jon Godfread is North Dakota’s insurance commissioner. 

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