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Budget Section OKs insurance study

Insurance Commissioner Jon Godfread speaks to the Legislature's Budget Section
Dave Thompson
Insurance Commissioner Jon Godfread speaks to the Legislature's Budget Section

The Legislature’s Budget Section has given Insurance Commissioner Jon Godfread the go-ahead to spend $1.5 million on a study on how to improve North Dakota’s insurance market.

The money would come from fees the Department collects from insurance companies.

Godfread told the Budget Section people are seeing higher costs for insurance – not only property, but auto.

"In the last Legislative session, I don't think anybody anticipated the length of a 'hard property market' that we're seeing right now," Godfread told lawmakers. "I'd argue it's relatively unprecedented — the duration of this 'hard market.'"

Godfread said there are inflationary pressures, supply chain issues and a number of other factors affecting consumers.

"Many of you are probably seeing those rates increase," Godfread said. "Whether it's homeowners or auto insurance, you're likely getting those phone calls, just like we are."

Godfread said the study would also include a look at building codes, and looking at some unification in building codes across the state.

"We're getting to a point where insurers are saying, if communities don't have x-level building codes, we aren't going to write that risk," Godfread said. "WE're not at that place yet here in North Dakota."

Godfread said in other states, they're facing an "availability crisis.

"How do we prevent that from happening in North Dakota?" Godfread said.

Godfread said his plan is to have recommendations ready for the 2025 Legislature. He said he believes time is of the essence.

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