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Insurance Commissioner proposing a study of the property insurance market in North Dakota

Insurance Commissioner Jon Godfread

The North Dakota Emergency Commission has approved spending $1.5 million from contingency funds for a study to modernize the property insurance market in North Dakota.

The proposal was made by state Insurance Commissioner Jon Godfread.

"We don't have an availability crisis in North Dakota yet," Godfread told the Emergency Commission. "There are a number of other states facing an availability crisis, where communities are not able to find insurance."

Godfread said North Dakota is facing an "affordability crunch."

"You may have had your constituents reach out and talk to you about that," Godfread said. "We're certainly getting those phone calls."

Godfread said the property code hasn’t been reviewed since the 1980s. He said the study would include an analysis of building codes. And Godfread said that has been a contentious issue.

"The reality is — you will see in the next years, the insurance industry will be taking a position of, if you don't have certain building codes, we're not going to write that coverage," Godfread said.

Godfread said there is nothing in the law that says insurers must cover communities. He said there's nothing in the law gives me the authority to force coverage there.

"So there's an aspect of mitigation necessity in certain communities to take certain steps, to provide a decent-enough risk for these insurers to cover," Godfread said.

Godfread said the idea is to have proposals ready for the 2025 Legislative session to consider.

The spending will now be reviewed by the Legislature’s Budget Section.

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