It’s no secret that medical malpractice suits are big money for attorneys, and an equally big risk for doctors and hospitals, but what about medical mistakes that are rooted in simple human error? What about those mistakes that could be used to teach doctors better medicine? Do those really require the same intensity of legal pursuit? [Read more…]
The state of Oregon currently requires all motorcycle riders to wear helmets, regardless of age or type of bike.
Twenty members of the Oregon legislature want to change that. Specifically, they believe only bikers under the age of 21 should be required to wear helmets.
State Representative Andy Olson (R) sponsored a bill to relax motorcycle helmet law in just that way, House Bill 2141, because he feels that without helmets riders will be able to better see and hear what is around them on the road.
The measure is headed to the House Transportation and Economic Development Committee.
Great news for workers’ compensation administrators in Oregon: private sector work-related injuries and illnesses there were only 4.4 per 100 full-time employees during the 2009 calendar year, making it the lowest recorded total ever.
Oregonians files 48,304 work related injury cases in 2009, 52.6 percent of which resulted in lost work time (including days away from work, restricted hours/duties, or transfers), according to the 2010 Report on the Oregon Workers’ Compensation System.
The report, which is published annually by the Department of Consumer and Business Services (DCBS) , found that the DART rate (days away from work, restriction, or job transfer) was 2.3 for private sector cases in 2009, as compared to a rate of 1.9 for state government and 2.8 for local government workers. Overall, the public sector DART rate was 2.5. The highest DART rate among specific industry divisions was recorded by transportation and warehousing, with a rare of 4.8, while finance and insurance came in with the lowest rate of 0.1.
Because the state of Oregon has a higher-than-average proportion of its workforce in industries considered “hazardous” – at least according to the DCBS – Oregon’s total incidence rate of workers’ compensation cases exceeds the national rate by 22.2 percent, and the state’s DART rate is 27.8 percent above the national average. The number of illnesses and injuries reported in any given year are influenced by a variety of factors, including working conditions, worker experience and training, the state of the economy and the number of hours worked.
Thousands of residents of Oregon are happy about their lower insurance premiums, thanks to a year-old law about credit scoring, say the results of a survey by the Department of Consumer and Business Services (DCBS).
The law allows policyholders to request that their insurance company re-rate or re-price their homeowners or auto insurance policy once a year, if credit scores were used to price the policy when it was originally issued. If the customer’s current score qualifies them for a better rate, the insurer must lower the price, but if their credit score has worsened, the premiums cannot be increased.
The survey looked at data from several key homeowners and auto insurance providers, and found that there were more than 8,000 cases of discounts being given since the law went into effect on January 1, 2010. Those who requested re-rating received a collective discount of more than $800,000 – roughly $100/request.
Oregon Senator Suzanne Bonamici, a Democrat from the Portland/Beaverton area who chaired the Senate Consumer Protection and Public Affairs Committee in the 2009 legislature which passed the law (then known as Senate Bill 377) said, “The law is working as intended and people who have improved their credit profiles are being rewarded with better rates.”
Credit scoring is used by many insurance companies to help determine whether or not to issue a policy, or how much to charge. Once a policy is purchased, however, insurers are prohibited from using credit scores to raise premiums. The new law, however, allows customers to request re-rating once a year.
The data for the DCBS survey came from the eleven insurers that write the bulk of Oregon’s homeowners/auto insurance business. Based on the numbers, the average policyholder with good credit and multiple policies (example: a home and two cars) could save several hundred dollars over the term of their policies, generally a year for homeowners insurance and six months for auto insurance. The survey also showed that about 30-50% of the policyholders who asked for rerating qualified for lower premiums, though there was a lot of variance between insurance companies.
The law does not require insurers to inform policyholders of their right to request their annual re-rating, though some insurance companies do so voluntarily.