COLUMBUS – Ohio Department of Insurance Director Jillian Froment today announced passage of a number of changes to Ohio law that will benefit Ohio consumers while further strengthening Ohio’s robust insurance market. Among the changes made by Ohio’s legislature are sweeping cybersecurity reforms that will help to better protect Ohio consumers while providing a level playing field for Ohio insurers.
“Ohio continues to lead the nation when it comes to implementing common sense reforms that are good for consumers and also fair for Ohio’s growing insurance industry,” Froment said. “These reforms were made possible thanks to significant collaborative work with many stakeholder groups and the tireless efforts of Chairmen Jay Hottinger and Tom Brinkman as well as the main sponsor of these reforms, Senator Bob Hackett.”
Ohio insurers will implement plans to safeguard business and personal information from cyber-attacks. In addition, insurers will develop response plans in the event that a cyber-attack does occur. As part of that plan, insurers are required to investigate the incident, report the event and other relevant information to the Department of Insurance and also notify those impacted by the event. These changes make Ohio one of the first states in the country to implement cybersecurity reforms specific to insurers.
In addition to the cybersecurity provisions included in Senate Bill 273, changes have been made to strengthen Ohio’s insurance market. One provision will increase competition in Ohio for rating agencies that provide assessments of insurance companies.
In addition, insurers based in Ohio will now be able to offer surplus lines insurance products as domestic surplus lines insurers. Prior to these changes, surplus lines insurers based in Ohio were subject to duplicative regulatory requirements that were costly and unnecessary. Products sold through a surplus line insurer often carry different risk than traditional insurance products and may also serve smaller, more specific segments of the market.
“Insurance continues to be a strong and growing industry in Ohio,” Froment added. “We must continue to evolve and adapt in order to regulate in a way that protects the consumer while fostering creativity and innovation throughout the industry.”
Ohio is home to 270 insurers, is the sixth largest insurance state in the country and the 19th largest insurance market in the world with $84 billion in premium volume. In addition, more than 1,600 insurance companies are regulated by the Department of Insurance and there are more than 220,000 insurance agents and 18,000 insurance agencies licensed in Ohio.
Senate Bill 273 passed both the Ohio House of Representatives and the Ohio Senate with overwhelming bipartisan support and now goes to Governor Kasich to be signed into law.