May 11, 2023
SALEM – The Oregon FAIR Plan Association board of directors recently approved an increase in coverage limits for personal and commercial dwellings in the face of statewide increased wildfire risk and increased housing values and construction costs. The board also hired Stephen Steinbeck as executive director.
The board increased the retention limits for the FAIR Plan, the state's insurer of last resort, to $600,000 for personal dwellings and farms and $1 million for commercial dwellings at the urging of the Oregon Division of Financial Regulation (DFR). The previous coverage limits were $400,000 and $700,000. A retention limit is the maximum amount an insurance company will pay for claims. The new limits expand the protection offered to Oregon consumers as housing values and construction costs continue to increase. The new limits became effective May 1 and is the first increase in coverage limits since 2016.
“The FAIR Plan coverage increases were needed and it will allow the association to be accessible to more Oregon residents who need this type of insurance," said Insurance Commissioner Andrew Stolfi, who is also the director of the Department of Consumer and Business Services (DCBS), which includes DFR.
The Oregon Legislature created the Oregon FAIR Plan Association in 1971 as a nonprofit licensed insurance company supported by its member companies. Every insurance company licensed to write property insurance in Oregon is required to be a member. The FAIR Plan Association is not a State of Oregon entity and receives no tax dollars.
The FAIR Plan, as the insurer of last resort, serves people and businesses who cannot get insurance in the standard market. It operates much like a small insurance company, writing only property insurance for dwellings, commercial property, and farms. The FAIR Plan issues all policies out of its office and handles and investigates all reported losses with independent local adjusters.
The hiring of Steinbeck gives the association someone with nearly three decades of industry experience. He recently spent the past eight years as a senior manager for Oregon Mutual Insurance in McMinnville and before that spent 21 years in various roles with Nationwide Insurance.
“Insurance can be very confusing, so finding ways to explain coverage in simple ways that make sense and unraveling some of the mystery of buying insurance coverage has been the challenge," Steinbeck said. “The FAIR Plan has an added challenge in that we are serving a clientele with unique needs and often emotional challenges because they were turned down by the standard market."
Steinbeck will work closely with DFR and Commissioner Stolfi, who serves on the FAIR Plan Association's board. Steinbeck will be responsible for overseeing all operations, developing strategies and plans for accommodating growth, and ensuring that the Oregon FAIR Plan continues to provide quality insurance coverage to its customers.
“We are excited to have Steve on board," Stolfi said. “He brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to this position, having worked in various insurance leadership roles over the years. He is dedicated to continuing the mission of offering fair and equitable access to property insurance for people in Oregon."
Steinbeck said that the Oregon FAIR Plan is often a stepping stone to getting back into the standard insurance market.
“Our goal is to help each client find ways to make their time with us as short as possible," he said. “Our primary goal is to get the insured out of our organization and back to the standard insurance market as quickly as possible."
About Oregon DFR: The Division of Financial Regulation is part of the Department of Consumer and Business Services, Oregon's largest business regulatory and consumer protection agency. Visit