Wednesday, May 13, 2015

OIC hiring two entry-level insurance positions in Tumwater

The Office of the Insurance Commissioner is hiring two entry-level positions atour Tumwater headquarters to help consumers with insurance.
  • Insurance Technician 1: This is in our Consumer Protection Division and answers calls on our consumer hotline. This position triages calls to consumer advocacy, producer licensing and Statewide Health Insurance Benefits Advisors (SHIBA), explains basic insurance rules and helps consumers and industry users troubleshoot problems with our online applications. 
  • Health Insurance Advisor 1: This is in our Statewide Health Insurance Benefits Advisors (SHIBA) program and is a temporary job through December 2015. This position counsels consumers in person and on the phone about health insurance, Medicare and Medicaid, including screening them for eligibility and enrolling them in subsidized programs. The person in this position delivers presentations to community groups, trains volunteers and attends monthly meetings around the state. 
Find more information about these jobs and other openings at http://bit.ly/OICjobs

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

OIC wants your help to make our website more user-friendly!

Now that open enrollment is over, we want to fine-tune the individuals and families section of our health insurance webpages. 

You can help by taking a short survey. It takes less than 15 minutes to complete and your responses are anonymous. We will use your feedback to better organize the information that we provide to consumers. The survey is open until May 19.

Thanks for your help making our website easier to use!

Friday, May 8, 2015

Fraud prosecutor wins Award of Excellence

The Office of the Insurance Commissioner congratulates King County Deputy Prosecutor Andy Hamilton on his Award of Excellence from the national Coalition Against Insurance Fraud. Hamilton works with the Insurance Commissioner’s Special Investigations Unit to prosecute criminal insurance fraud cases in King County. Hamilton has prosecuted more than 55 cases involving more than $5.5 million in losses, including convicted felons Edward Callow and Kevin Kolenda.

Hamilton, who has worked as an assistant U.S. attorney and Deputy Prosecutor for more than 30 years, works in the King County Prosecutor’s economic crimes unit and was a police officer for four years before he earned his law degree.

Andy Hamilton accepts an Award of Excellence from the national 
Coalition Against Insurance Fraud 
from Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler on May 5. 

Thursday, May 7, 2015

OIC seeks smart, savvy health care policy advisor

The OIC is hiring a highly skilled Senior Health Policy Advisor to acts as Commissioner Kreidler's primary advisor on all issues related to health care and health insurance issues, including the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

This position is the Commissioner's trusted advisor and designee on ACA policy matters and other matters related to health insurance. This position is responsible for developing policy options for the resolution of health insurance issues. Once executive decisions are made concerning the purpose and scope of an initiative, this position will develop programs or initiatives reflected in work products such as reports, legislation or regulations.

Duties of this position include:
  • Acts as the first point-of-contact for consumer advocates and consumer/labor groups on matters pertaining to the ACA and other health insurance issues; 
  • Coordinates with the Governor's Office, Health Benefits Exchange (HBE), HCA and others on ACA implementation issues and other health coverage related issues and projects; 
  • Acts as the point-of-contact for legislative staff and member inquiries on ACA and other health insurance issues; 
  • Represents the Commissioner and agency at speaking engagements and meetings related to healthcare issues. Meetings may include, but are not limited to: Health Benefits Exchange Board, National Association of Insurance Commissioner (NAIC) , Governor's Health Leadership Team, legislative hearings, rule-making and legislation stakeholdering; 
  • Analyzes existing and proposed laws, rules and proposals concerning health insurance legislation, preparing recommendations as needed for executive decision-making; 
  • Develops strategies, initiatives and recommendations to solve priority health insurance issues; and, 
  • Communicates and works with representatives from the insurance industry, public agencies, legislature and the public in development of initiatives to solve health insurance issues. 
View a full list of duties and apply here: Senior Health Policy Advisor (Civil Service Exempt)

Friday, April 24, 2015

Help us improve our Medicare webpages!

We are in the process of conducting a usability study on the Insurance Commissioner's Medicare webpages. We want to hear from consumers how we can organize the pages and content in a way that makes sense to you. All it takes is 10-15 minutes to take a simple online survey. The survey is open through May 1. 

Your feedback is very important, so please take a few minutes to help us improve our site!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Online services unavailable Saturday, April 25

The Insurance Commissioner's online services will be unavailable Saturday from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Our website, www.insurance.wa.gov, will be available, but people will not be able to access the following applications accessed through our site:

  • Licensing services
  • Complaints
  • SHIBA online
  • Insurance company and agent lookup
  • Rate transparency
The city is relocating the underground fiber network cables as part of a road construction project, which will disrupt our computer networks. 


Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Insurance needs are a factor in retirement planning

This week is National Retirement Planning Week, organized by the National Retirement Planning Coalition. The group aims to help people create a comprehensive plan for retirement, which can seem daunting or, for some, too far away to contemplate. Its website, www.retireonyourterms.org, offers tools based on your age, retirement and saving calculators and plenty of information about ways you can be prepared for retirement.

Insurance needs also should be factored into your retirement plans. Medicare plans carry a cost for premiums, doctor visits, prescription drugs and hospitalizations. However, Medicare typically does not cover long-term care, so some people opt for long-term care insurance to pay for home health care, adult day care, nursing home care or group-living facility care.

If you are considering annuities as part of your retirement planning, we have information about the benefits, the types of annuities and payouts.

Questions? You can contact our consumer advocates online or at 1-800-562-6900.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Thank you to our SHIBA volunteers!


Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler meets SHIBA volunteers from South Sound Outreach in October 2014















In honor of National Volunteer Month, we’re recognizing the more than 400 people who volunteer their time to our Statewide Health Insurance Benefits Advisors (SHIBA) program. SHIBA's outstanding volunteers are an integral part of the consumer protection work we do at the Office of the Insurance Commissioner. In 2014, they helped nearly 65,000 Washington consumers understand Medicare in plain English, resolve Medicare disputes and choose a plan that best fits their needs in a timely manner.

Our volunteers donated nearly 90,000 hours in 2014 to helping their fellow citizens. We honor and celebrate our volunteers for their dedication and kindness. Thank you SHIBA volunteers for your time, dedication, commitment and service.

Read more about SHIBA services and where to find help in your area.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

OIC helps develop training for examining, analyzing insurers’ climate change risk

As the state’s insurance regulator, one of the things the Office of the Insurance Commissioner does is examine and analyze insurers’ finances to make sure they have enough money in cash and investments to pay consumers’ insurance claims. Climate change is increasingly a risk to insurers’ business, both from a claims standpoint and from an investment standpoint.
Some of OIC’s friendly financial examiners participate in a dry run of a new training for state regulators to evaluate insurers’ climate change risk.


Commissioner Kreidler has led the climate change work group for the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) since 2006. As part of that work, the OIC led a work group that developed the guidance for other state regulators to use when evaluating insurers’ climate change risks and investments during financial examinations and analyses. Last week, the OIC’s financial examiners and analysts were given a dry run of the training to offer feedback before it is presented to other state regulators. In essence, insurers are expected to identify climate change-related risk to their business and evaluate how these factors may affect their claims and how they invest their money.

Washington is not new to working with insurers on climate change. Since 2010, our state has been one of a handful that requires insurance companies to answer an annual survey about how they are addressing their risk related to climate change.

You can read more about Commissioner Kreidler’s work with climate change and read the most recent report about how insurers are addressing climate change.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Tacoma woman trades guilty plea, diversion program for dismissed charges in insurance fraud

Isabel Osorto, 23, of Tacoma, pled guilty to insurance fraud and agreed to complete a diversion program in exchange for the charge being dismissed.

The charge stems from a December 2012 collision in which Osorto hit another car. Later that day, she purchased insurance for her car and filed a $9,000 hit-and-run claim on her car three days later. The insurance company was tipped off that something was amiss when the driver of the car she hit contacted her insurance company about the damage to his car, which was supported by the citation she was issued by Washington State Patrol. She was charged with one count of insurance fraud in September 2014.

The terms of the diversion program include pleading guilty, full repayment of the restitution amount, payment of all administrative fees and full compliance with all program requirements. In this case, the restitution amount is zero because the insurance company did not pay Osorto’s $9,000 claim. The charge against Osorto will be dismissed once she completes the terms of the program. If she fails to complete the program, the charge against her will be reinstated.

The OIC’s Special Investigations Unit investigates insurance fraud and works with the Attorney General’s Office or local law enforcement—in this case, Pierce County – to prosecute criminal cases. Consumers can report suspected insurance fraud on the Insurance Commissioner’s website.