• The very beginning: Insurance regulationstarts July 1, 1887, with the Secretary of Stateas the ex-officio insurance commissioner.
• Birth of a department: The Department of Insurance is born Feb. 24, 1909, and not a day too soon. The 1909 Legislature creates the department with an emergency clause so it can tackle problems of the day. The preamble to the insurance code notes that numerous insurance companies are doing business in Oregon without authorization, thus escaping taxes. Also, property owners can’t get sufficient insurance and the few companies that are in Oregon “have entered into an unlawful combination by which they are ableto enforce such rates as they may agree upon…”
• The family tree: The Insurance Department becomes a division of the Department of Commerce in 1964. In 1987, it becomes part of the Department of Insurance and Finance. And, in 1993, it becomes a division of the Department of Consumer and Business Services (DCBS), where it remains today. The department is Oregon’s largest business regulatory agency. The DCBS director is Oregon’s insurance commissioner; an Insurance Division administrator provides policy direction and manages daily operations.
• First insurance commissioner: Sam A. Kozer, formerly deputy in the Secretary of State office, becomes the state’s first insurance commissioner 1909. His salary is set at $3,000 a year.
• First woman insurance commissioner in Oregon: Josephine M. Driscoll is appointed insurance commissioner on Dec. 7, 1981. In 1986, she also becomes the first woman president of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), which was founded in 1871 to coordinate the work of the state insurance commissioners.
• Funding: The Insurance Division generates its operating revenues from fees and assessmentson those it regulates.
• What we do: The Insurance Division protects consumers and ensures the financial soundness of insurance companies. In 2008, the Insurance Division’s staff of 90:
Received approximately 4,000 consumer »»insurance complaints and fielded 15,000 questions.
Recovered nearly $2 million for consumers it »helped with insurance problems.
Completed 14 detailed financial exams of »insurers in addition to monitoring financial solvency of insurers authorized to dobusiness in Oregon.
Licensed and monitored nearly 92,000»resident and nonresident insurance agentsand agencies.
Protected consumers from insurance»companies and producers that violated the insurance code by closing 983 investigations that resulted in 84 enforcement actions. As a result of these actions, nearly $1.9 million was recovered for consumers and more than $716,800 in civil penalties was collected and deposited into the state’s General Fund.
Received more than 43,000 insurance forms »of one type or another to review for consumer protection. The division also received morethan 1,600 insurance rate filings.
source: Oregon Insurance Division:A snapshot