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Information Resources Division: 804-371-9141



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RICHMOND – Winter weather can wreak havoc with your home, business, vehicles and other property, causing billions of dollars in insured and uninsured losses nationwide each year. Think burst pipes, slippery sidewalks, roof cave-ins and vehicle damage due to fallen tree limbs and slick roads.

With several recent winter weather events in Virginia already and the possibility for others during this winter season, the time to prepare is now. The State Corporation Commission’s (SCC) Bureau of Insurance (Bureau) encourages Virginians to review their insurance coverage and prepare their homes and vehicles before harsh winter conditions return. It is important to know the extent of your insurance coverage, as well as any deductibles you may have to pay in the event of a claim.

Accumulation of too much snow or ice can result in tree limbs breaking and falling on homes, vehicles and power lines. Falling limbs also can result in collapsed roofs and other damage to homes, structures and vehicles. Melting snow and ice can cause flooding of property and interior damage to structures even after a winter storm ends. Sub-freezing temperatures can lead to broken pipes both inside and outside your home.

“Plan ahead for seasonal and other hazards,” said Virginia Insurance Commissioner Scott A. White. “Homeowners, renters and commercial property policies can protect you against many types of winter weather threats, but there are exceptions. Contact your insurance agent or company or the SCC’s Bureau of Insurance to learn more.”

To help reduce the risk of damage to your home and property this winter, the Bureau suggests the following:

  • Remove dead, dying, diseased or broken tree limbs near your home and property.
  • Remove debris from your gutters to help prevent ice dams and allow melting water to drain freely away from your home.
  • Inspect your attic insulation and ventilation to ensure warm air stays in the living areas of your home and out of the attic. Keeping attic air cold can help minimize the freeze/thaw cycle that causes ice dams, which may cause interior water damage to your home. Proper insulation of your home has the added advantage of helping save energy and may reduce your heating costs.
  • Protect your pipes from freezing. Detach garden hoses from your home before the temperature drops below freezing and properly winterize pipes and irrigation systems around your home. To protect interior pipes, leave your faucet running slightly to allow water to trickle through the pipes, reducing the chance that standing water will freeze. Opening the cabinet doors under your sink allows warm air to circulate around your pipes and to help keep them from freezing.
  • Make sure fireplaces, wood stoves and electric heaters work properly. Additionally, keep combustible items away from heat sources.

Standard homeowners, renters and commercial property insurance policies provide coverage for damage to property caused by wind, snow, severe cold and freezing rain. Property damage caused by flooding typically is not covered, but separate flood insurance is available through the National Flood Insurance Program at and may be available through your insurance carrier.

If your home or property suffers damage as a result of severe winter weather, contact your insurance agent or company as soon as possible. Make any necessary emergency repairs and take reasonable steps to prevent further damage. Record all damage to your property and include photographs, notes and repair-related receipts.

Homeowners insurance also may cover certain incidents where someone slips and falls on slick sidewalks or other surfaces on your property. You can check for this coverage under the liability and medical payments portions of your homeowners insurance policy.

If you are involved in an auto accident between two or more vehicles attributed to snowy and slippery road conditions, or if your vehicle crashes into an object affixed along a roadway (such as a streetlight) due to those conditions, collision coverage is available under standard auto insurance policies. Also check to see whether your auto insurance covers damage to your vehicle caused by ice, snow and falling tree limbs. These types of damages usually are covered by other-than-collision (or comprehensive) coverage on your vehicle, which protects against damage to a vehicle from such things as fire, water, hail, vandalism, glass breakage, wind and falling objects.

The Bureau offers consumer guides regarding homeowners, renters, commercial and auto insurance and disaster-related property insurance claims. For copies of these and other publications offered by the Bureau or for answers to your insurance questions, contact the Bureau’s Property and Casualty Consumer Services Section at 804-371-9185 in Richmond or toll-free at 1-877-310-6560. Copies of the consumer insurance guides are also available on the Bureau’s website at


Contact: Katha Treanor, 804-371-9141

RICHMOND – Decentralized Finance (DeFi), a relatively new blockchain-based set of financial services, may come with risks that are not readily apparent to investors. As such, the State Corporation Commission (SCC) urges Virginians to approach this technology as they would any other potential investment – with caution as well as an understanding of the potential benefits and risks.

DeFi firms rely on algorithms and use digital assets to provide financial services such as depository services, lending, investing and management services. Some of these services are highly complex, operate outside current regulatory frameworks and may offer few, if any, consumer protections. DeFi relies heavily on peer-to-peer transactions rather than an intermediary such as a bank that holds custody of funds.

“Never invest more than you can afford to lose,” said Ron Thomas, director of the SCC’s Division of Securities and Retail Franchising (Division). “Because DeFi is an emerging technology – and offers lending and investing options that are not dependent on traditional financial markets – the risks differ from those in traditional markets.”

“The growing popularity of cryptocurrencies is one of the main drivers behind the development of alternative banking and business opportunities that may rely on DeFi models,” Thomas said.

To help Virginians better understand DeFi, the North American Securities Administrators Association, of which the SCC is a member, issued an investor advisory to explain DeFi, the technology behind it, how DeFi lending works, potential risks for investors, and how consumers can avoid becoming a victim to scams.

Thomas encourages Virginians to understand any investment and the person offering it before they invest.

For additional resources regarding securities and investing, or to find out if an investment or the person offering it are properly licensed or registered in Virginia, contact the Division of Securities and Retail Franchising in Richmond at 804-371-9051 or toll-free at 1-800-552-7945, or visit its website at


Contact: Ford Carson, 804-371-9141

RICHMOND – The State Corporation Commission (SCC) has applied for a federal waiver to establish the Commonwealth Health Reinsurance Program (CHRP) as directed by Virginia Code Section 38.2-6606. The new program is scheduled to begin on January 1, 2023.

House Bill 2332 was passed in the 2021 session of the Virginia General Assembly and signed into law on March 31, 2021, creating the CHRP and directing the SCC to seek the waiver application.

The CHRP application was submitted to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and to the U.S. Department of the Treasury.


Contact: Andy Farmer, 804-371-9141

RICHMOND – Many Virginians are already protected against surprise medical bills - thanks to a Virginia law that took effect Jan. 1, 2021. Now, the federal No Surprises Act (NSA), which takes effect Jan. 1, 2022, will provide additional protections for more people against surprise billing for medical expenses.

Surprise billing – or balance billing – occurs when patients enrolled in managed care health insurance plans receive care either in an emergency situation or unknowingly from medical service providers who do not participate in the plan’s network of providers – often referred to as “out-of-network” providers – and the provider bills them for more than their plan’s cost-sharing amounts (such as deductibles, coinsurance and copays).

Virginians enrolled in either fully insured managed care health insurance plans issued in Virginia, or the state employee health benefit plan, must not be balance billed by an out-of-network provider for emergency services. Additionally, out-of-network providers cannot balance bill these individuals for certain non-emergency services during a scheduled procedure at an in-network hospital or other health care facility.

Self-insured group health plans may opt-in to the protections offered by Virginia’s balance billing laws. In Virginia, these plans are known as elective group health plans. Please visit the State Corporation Commission’s (SCC) Bureau of Insurance (Bureau) balance billing webpage at to view plans that have chosen to opt-in to Virginia’s protections.

Most people who receive health care coverage through an employer are covered by self-insured health plans. The new NSA applies to items and services provided to individuals enrolled in self-insured health plans offered by employers regardless of the location of the employer or balance billing protections offered by a state, as well as group or individual health care coverage offered through health insurance companies.

New NSA protections – which include cost-sharing rules, prohibitions on balance billing for certain items and services, notice and consent requirements, and requirements related to disclosures about balance billing protections – apply to health care providers and facilities, as well as providers of air ambulance services.

The NSA makes an independent dispute resolution (IDR) process available for providers and insurance companies to settle disputes about a patient’s bill without putting the patient in the middle. Under the NSA, IDR is also available in certain circumstances for individuals who are uninsured.

Some states have their own balance billing IDRs. Virginia law provides a process for insurers and providers to resolve balance billing disputes and prohibits the provider from balance billing the consumer. When a consumer is treated by an out-of-network health care provider for services covered by the law, the provider will submit the claim to the consumer’s insurer or health plan. The insurer or health plan will pay the provider a “commercially reasonable amount,” thereby eliminating any balance payment by the consumer to the provider for services rendered.

The out-of-network provider may dispute the payment amount with the insurer. If that occurs, one of the parties may request that an arbitrator determine the final payment amount and resolve the dispute. Arbitrators must report their final decision to both arbitrating parties and to the Bureau. In support of this dispute resolution process, currently 111 arbitrators have been approved in Virginia. Between January 1, 2021, and October 31, 2021, the Bureau received 727 arbitration requests, 660 of which were accepted as eligible.

Virginia law also requires certain consumer notifications by health care facilities, other medical providers and managed care health insurance plans regulated by the Bureau regarding balance billing protection for out-of-network services – including when a consumer can be balance billed and their rights under Virginia law.  The Bureau has posted a consumer notification for January 1, 2022, that incorporates new federal rights and protections at:

Keep in mind that, under your health plan, you are still responsible for cost-sharing amounts that may include copays, coinsurance and deductibles.

In some cases, Virginia protections may be more extensive than those provided under the NSA, such as with short-term, limited-duration plans with a network and certain types of in-network facilities subject to Virginia law.

If you think your protections have not been applied correctly, you may contact the Virginia Bureau of Insurance toll-free at 1-877-310-6560 or visit Consumer questions and complaints about balance billing may be emailed to

To learn more about your protections under the NSA, visit


Contact: Katha Treanor, 804-371-9141

RICHMOND – Many investors increasingly want to align their financial goals with their personal beliefs. ESG investing – also known as sustainable investing, socially responsible investing or impact investing – is an investment strategy in which an investor considers environmental, social and governance factors about a company or fund when making financial decisions.

“ESG” is an acronym that stands for environmental, social and governance factors.  Environmental factors generally concern a company’s impact on the environment, such as its energy or water use, pollution output, climate change policies, waste management, greenhouse gas emissions goals, and carbon footprints.

Social factors often relate to a company’s culture and policies impacting employees, customers, suppliers and others. Such factors may include company policies regarding diversity and inclusion, social justice issues, employee sexual harassment, fair labor practices, faith-based issues, and health and safety initiatives.

Governance factors typically consider how a company is run and the relationships its officers and directors have with employees, customers, shareholders and local communities. These factors may include executive compensation, board composition, conflict of interest policies, transparency, ethics, compliance, shareholder rights and lobbying.

Investors interested in ESG investing may consider some or all of these factors when deciding how to invest their money.

As with any investment strategy, the State Corporation Commission’s (SCC) Division of Securities and Retail Franchising (Division) urges investors to do their homework before making any investment. “All investments are not created equal,” said Division Director Ron Thomas. “While ESG investing is popular, it may not be right for everyone. When investing, consider all of your goals and the potential benefits and risks of a particular investment. Don’t invest money you cannot afford to lose.”

Whether pursuing an ESG investing strategy or engaging in any investment activity, Thomas urges Virginians to consider the following:

  • Thoroughly evaluate each investment opportunity and make sure you understand the investment and any fees and expenses associated with it. Seek independent, professional advice, if needed.
  • Check a company’s track record, management and regulatory history using publicly available resources and filings.
  • Review an investment’s disclosure documents.
  • Consider whether an investment’s stated approach matches your investment goals, objectives, risk tolerance and preferences.
  • Do not allow anyone to pressure you into making an investment.
  • Check with your state securities regulator to find out if an investment and the person offering it are licensed or registered. In Virginia, consumers can contact the SCC Division of Securities and Retail Franchising in Richmond at 804-371-9051 or toll-free at 1-800-552-7945.

For more information, visit the Division’s website at or the North American Securities Administrators Association website at


Contact: Katha Treanor, 804-371-9141

RICHMOND – Dry pine needles, icy streets and sidewalks, busy kitchens and overworked outlets are just a few of the seasonal hazards that can result in injuries or damage to your home or property. Those events in turn can lead to expenses or losses that impact your financial well-being if you don’t have adequate insurance coverage.

In order to keep spirits bright, the State Corporation Commission’s (SCC) Bureau of Insurance reminds Virginians to check with their insurance agent or company to ensure they have the appropriate amount of insurance coverage in the event of an illness, theft or mishap.

“Make sure your insurance coverage is up-to-date so you can minimize any financial damage,” said Virginia Insurance Commissioner Scott A. White. “Take a close look at each of your insurance policies to ensure you know exactly what is – and is not – covered.”

Also check that your coverage includes seasonal activities that you may enjoy, such as skiing, snowboarding and snowmobiling.

Additionally, the COVID-19 pandemic creates several recent considerations for policyholders. Among other things, policyholders should consider the following:

  • Compliance requirements with local, state or national restrictions regarding the number of people who may gather at one time;
  • Minimizing the risk of transmission by taking appropriate steps, such as wearing masks, using hand soap and hand sanitizer frequently, and encouraging the sick to stay home, and
  • Understanding how your homeowner’s, renter’s, health and life insurance policies may specifically address COVID-19.

In addition to reviewing your policies, you may take other proactive steps before an accident. Among other things, you may want to keep your auto insurance company’s contact information and a copy of your insurance card with you when you drive, stay alert of local weather forecasts, and bring health insurance information – like identification cards and contact details for family members – with you while traveling.

Finally, the end of the year is a good time to update your home inventory for insurance purposes. Keeping an updated inventory will help ensure your homeowners or renters policy provides enough coverage for your belongings. It also can facilitate the recovery process if you experience loss or damage and must file an insurance claim.

Separate coverage may be needed for high-cost items such as jewelry, art or electronics. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners' free smartphone app — NAIC Home Inventory — makes creating a home inventory quick and easy. This app is available through the App Store and Google Play.

For information about a variety of insurance-related topics specifically for consumers, contact the Virginia Bureau of Insurance in Richmond at 804-371-9741 or toll-free at 1-877-310-6560 or visit its website at Additional information also may be found on the National Association of Insurance Commissioners’ website.


Contact: Ford Carson, 804-371-9141

RICHMOND – Virginia consumers will soon have an opportunity to shop for health care coverage for the 2022 plan year through Virginians can shop for insurance on the website during open enrollment, which runs November 1, 2021 through January 15, 2022.  Special enrollment periods are also available for people who experience certain qualifying life events. Visit to learn more.

“For 2022 and 2023, Virginia consumers will continue to shop for health care coverage on, the federal health insurance platform,” said Victoria Savoy, director of the Virginia Health Benefit Exchange (Virginia Exchange). In the meantime, the Virginia Exchange continues its transition toward becoming operational as a state-based exchange after plan year 2023.

Whether changing health insurance plans or purchasing a new plan, the SCC encourages Virginians to review their coverage needs and thoroughly explore all their options.  Consumers should understand their health coverage options – whether choosing a plan on the federal health insurance platform during open enrollment or another option elsewhere.

“Not all health plans are created alike, and some are not insurance,” said Virginia Insurance Commissioner Scott A. White. He encourages Virginians to fully understand the coverage, costs and protections before signing up for any health plan. “Understand enrollment periods, what plans must cover to comply with the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and where to turn for legitimate information. If you have questions, the Bureau of Insurance (Bureau) can help.”

Consumer protection laws govern some types of health coverage such as plans purchased through an employer or through the health insurance marketplace. Other types of plans, like health care sharing ministries and discount plans are not insurance and do not offer the same protections as ACA-compliant plans.

Short-term, limited-duration health insurance plans are not available through the health insurance marketplace, but they are regulated health insurance plans. Short-term plans often cover less than ACA-compliant marketplace plans, may deny eligibility for coverage or exclude services because of pre-existing conditions; they also may apply dollar limits on the amount paid in coverage benefits.

Whether shopping for health insurance on or off the exchange, the Bureau and the Virginia Exchange encourage careful consideration of the health care services you and your family will need prior to signing up for any plan. Questions that you should consider include:

  • Does the plan cover the services my family needs or are there limits to the benefits available under the plan?
  • Are doctors and medications my family needs covered by the plan? 
  • What are the monthly premiums and other costs of using health services such as co-pays, co-insurance and deductibles?

During open enrollment, consumers should keep the following in mind:

  • In Virginia, is the official website to enroll in ACA plans. (Español:
  • Although you don’t have to use to enroll in an ACA plan, you must enroll through to receive financial assistance.
  • The open enrollment period for buying a 2022 ACA plan (whether through or outside begins November 1, 2021 and ends January 15, 2022.
  • Look for a disclosure indicating whether the health plan complies with the ACA.
  • Do not provide personal information or send money in response to unsolicited calls or emails purporting to offer health care plans or assistance.
  • Members of the health insurance marketplace will not call to sell you health insurance. Be wary of telemarketers cold calling you from the “marketplace,” “national enrollment center," "national healthcare center" or other official-sounding name to sell you health insurance, especially outside the open enrollment period.
  • To verify that an insurance agent, agency or company is licensed in Virginia, visit the Bureau’s website at
  • For free help understanding your options, find an application assistant or a healthcare navigator at (Español:

For more information, contact the Bureau toll-free at 1-877-310-6560 or visit its website at Use the online comparison tool to compare plans. To learn more about the Virginia Exchange or obtain additional contact information, visit

Free translation services are available. Call the Virginia Exchange hotline at 1-833-740-1364 or the hotline at 1-800-318-2596 for assistance.


Contact: Katha Treanor, 804-371-9141

RICHMOND – Across the nation, November is the peak month for insurance claims related to vehicle collisions with deer. Virginia is among the states with the highest risk of these types of incidents. Mating season and migration contribute to a dramatic uptick in vehicle-deer collisions during the fall. To help avoid incidents, the State Corporation Commission’s (SCC) Bureau of Insurance reminds drivers to stay alert, particularly if traveling along tree-lined roadways when it’s dark.

“A deer in the roadway poses a threat to even the most careful driver,” said Virginia Insurance Commissioner Scott White. “As fall arrives, contact your insurance agent or company to determine if your automobile policy provides coverage for claims involving a collision with deer or other wildlife.”

Damage caused to your vehicle as a result of a collision with a deer or other animal typically is covered under the optional “other-than-collision” (also known as “comprehensive”) portion of your automobile policy. In addition to claims involving animals, some of the coverages provided by “other-than-collision” are damage resulting from theft, wind, hail and flood, as well as fire and vandalism. Keep in mind that if you have a liability-only policy, your policy may not cover your vehicle for damage resulting from a crash involving a deer or any other object.

Drivers can help prevent a collision with a deer by lowering their speed and staying alert. Nevertheless, some collisions are inevitable. In these cases, you should stay in your lane and brake as carefully as possible. Though jarring, a collision with a deer is often safer for the driver and any occupants – and for surrounding vehicles and their occupants – than swerving sharply and potentially hitting something else. If a driver attempts to avoid a collision by swerving – into a tree or ditch, for example – any damage may trigger coverages different than “other-than-collision.” Additionally, insurers may consider the driver to be at fault, which could cause premiums to increase.

Should you collide with a deer, notify law enforcement and your insurance company as soon as possible. When safe to do so, take pictures of the incident scene and any vehicle damage in the event you file an insurance claim. Don’t assume that your vehicle is safe to drive. Check for leaking fluid, tire damage, broken lights and other damage. When in doubt, call a tow truck.

The Bureau of Insurance stands ready to assist Virginians with their questions regarding auto and many other types of insurance. For more information, call the Bureau toll-free at 1-877-310-6560 or in Richmond at 804-371-9741 or visit its website at


Contact: Ford Carson, 804-371-9141

RICHMOND – Many Americans would face financial hardship if a wage earner died unexpectedly. Life Insurance Awareness Month – celebrated each September – is a reminder that life insurance can help protect your loved ones financially now and in the future.

The State Corporation Commission’s (SCC) Bureau of Insurance (Bureau) reminds Virginians that there are many factors to consider when determining if life insurance is right for you and your family.

“When considering your family’s financial future, review your existing financial resources, debts and other liabilities, as well as your family’s needs and goals,” said Virginia Insurance Commissioner Scott White. “Understand the different types of life insurance and shop around to compare prices and coverage.”

White encourages Virginians who already have life insurance to review their policies regularly and update their policies and beneficiaries so their coverage keeps pace with their changing circumstances. Life events such as a birth, divorce, remarriage, or other changes affecting your finances (such as a new mortgage or a new job) may trigger a need to update your life insurance policy.

If you do not have life insurance, shop around and understand the different types of policies available and the costs.

“Think about your family situation if you died tomorrow,” White said. Review your existing resources and consider the following: Does your spouse work? Do you have any sources of income other than salary? Do you have life insurance through your job?

Also consider the financial obligations that may fall upon family members if you die, such as a mortgage, business expenses, medical expenses, car loans or student loans. Also consider short-term and long-term goals such as your spouse’s retirement, providing care for a loved one or your children’s education.

White encourages Virginians to understand the types of life insurance available – term life or permanent – and how benefits are paid when you die. Term life insurance offers death benefit protection for a specific period of time. Benefits are paid only if the policyholder dies within the policy term. Term policies typically have lower premiums, but premiums may increase as you age or at the end of a specific “term.” Term policies do not build cash value, but some permanent life insurance policies such as whole life, adjustable/universal life or variable life insurance do build cash value over time. Permanent policies cover the insured for their entire life as long as premiums are paid when due.

Life insurance can do more than protect your spouse and dependents after your death. Some policies contain benefits that are usable during your lifetime. For example, a policyholder might be able to use the cash value accumulated in a permanent life insurance policy to pay expenses for education, retirement or emergencies.

What you pay for life insurance (premiums) depends largely on the type of policy chosen, your health status, age, gender, occupation, family health history and lifestyle. The following factors may impact your ability to obtain life insurance coverage or the premium you must pay: pre-existing conditions and chronic health problems such as diabetes, heart disease or cancer; poor health habits such as smoking or drinking; your driving record, and whether you engage in activities considered risky by the insurer such as rock climbing, motorcycle riding, sky diving, horseback riding or skiing.

Compare premiums, coverage and claims service when considering life insurance options. Contact the Bureau of Insurance in Richmond at 804-371-9741 or toll-free at 1-877-310-6560 for questions or to make sure the company or individual offering the coverage is licensed and in good standing. The Bureau offers a free Virginia Life Insurance Consumer Guide with answers to many life insurance questions on its website at,-Guides-Publications.

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners offers a free Life Insurance Policy Locator Service that can help consumers find lost life insurance policies and annuity contracts. From January 2017 through June 2021, the Locator Service matched 4,616 policies for Virginians with a total face value of $117,052,464. Nationwide, from November 2016 through June 2021, it matched 147,140 policies with a total face value of $3,775,837,551. To learn more about the Locator Service, visit


Contact: Katha Treanor, 804-371-9141

RICHMOND –The State Corporation Commission (SCC) is taking steps to create the Commonwealth Health Reinsurance Program (CHRP), which would begin on January 1, 2023. The CHRP is designed to increase affordability in the individual health care insurance market with a goal of decreasing premiums.

Pursuant to the Affordable Care Act, the CHRP requires federal approval of an application request for a State Innovation Waiver. Under the waiver, insurance carriers will be reimbursed for a proportion of the claims of covered individuals with high annual costs. In addition to these federal pass-through funds, the program will be funded through state general funds as authorized by the Virginia General Assembly.

A draft waiver application is being prepared for meeting the January 1, 2022 deadline to submit a request to the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services.

Information about the program is available on the SCC website at: The draft application will be available for review and comment by October 1, 2021.

Two public hearings are scheduled on Thursday, October 14, 2021 – one at 10 a.m. and the second at 7 p.m. Both will be webcast.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the SCC will hold telephonic hearings for the receipt of public comments. Public witnesses wishing to provide oral comments must pre-register by October 12, 2021 in one of three ways:

  • Complete a public witness form for case number INS-2021-00110 on the SCC’s website at:
  • E-mail the same information (PDF version on the same website as above) to
  • Call the SCC at 804-371-9141 during regular business hours and provide your name and the phone number you wish the Commission to call to reach you during either hearing.

For those who prefer, there is an opportunity to provide comments in writing on the waiver application request. Written comments may be submitted through the SCC’s website by November 1, 2021, at If unable to submit electronically, send comments by U.S. Mail to Clerk of the SCC, c/o Document Control Center, P.O. Box 2118, Richmond, VA 23218-2118 and refer to case number INS-2021-00110.


Contact: Ford Carson, 804-371-9141

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