SCC News


Information Resources Division: 804-371-9141



Get updates on the latest in Utility, Financial, and General news


RICHMOND – The toll-free National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (NSPL) is a critical emergency resource and can be reached, day or night, at 800-273-8255. Starting in July 2022, the NSPL will also be getting its own three-digit dialing number – 988 – as approved by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) earlier this year. Dialing 988 will therefore directly reach the NSPL.

Before that can happen, dialing changes will be necessary in two Virginia area codes – 804 and 276 – starting in late April 2021.

In the Richmond region (area code 804) and the Southwest Virginia region (area code 276), 988 is an existing working prefix (i.e., the first three numbers dialed after the area code) for local exchanges in those area codes that currently permit seven-digit dialing to make a local call. To prepare for 988 becoming a national number for the NSPL, 10-digit dialing (area code + phone number) will be required to make local calls in those two geographic regions.

Virginia is not alone. There are 81 area codes in 36 other states that must also prepare for 10-digit dialing to accommodate the 988 national number roll-out.

The State Corporation Commission, the FCC and the telephone industry will be reminding consumers of this change in the 804 and 276 area codes over the next 18 months. The timeline for implementation is as follows:

  • April 24, 2021 – permissive 10-digit dialing begins for all local calls
  • October 24, 2021 – mandatory 10-digit dialing required for all local calls
  • July 16, 2022 – 988 for NSPL is active

Very little else will change for telephone users inside the 804 and 276 area codes. The NSPL is – and will always be – available at 1-800-273-8255. Other three-digit services – like 211, 711, 811, and 911 – are not affected. Telephone numbers, coverage areas, local call boundaries, and area code numbers remain the same.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration estimates that roughly four percent of Virginia adults live with serious mental health conditions. While the holiday season brings joy and relaxation to some, it also may mean stress and sadness for others. During the holiday season and beyond, it is particularly crucial to be aware of available mental health resources such as the NSPL hotline (800-273-8255) and As always, 911 is available for emergency situations.

For more information about phone service changes regarding the NSPL’s upcoming 988 number, visit the FCC website at


Contact: Ford Carson, 804-371-9141

RICHMOND – The 2020 Atlantic hurricane season may be over, but the State Corporation Commission’s (SCC) Bureau of Insurance (Bureau) cautions Virginians not to let their guard down when it comes to the threat of floods. Heavy rains, saturated soil, melting snow and ice, broken dams and a lack of vegetation due to wildfires, development or other causes are just a few factors that can contribute to flooding.

The Bureau reminds Virginians that homeowners, renters and commercial insurance policies typically do not cover damage or loss caused by a flood event. “Floods can happen anywhere and anytime,” said Virginia Insurance Commissioner Scott A. White. “Even a few inches of water can cause extensive damage to your home and its contents.”

White encourages Virginians to assess their flood risk and protect themselves financially before the waters start to rise. If you live in a floodplain near a river, or if you live near the coast, it is especially important to consider purchasing separate flood insurance for your home. However, keep in mind that even low-risk communities can experience flooding.

Although homeowners, renters and commercial insurance policies issued in Virginia typically do not provide coverage for damage to your home, business and belongings caused by floods, the federal government does sell insurance for direct flood and flood-related damage through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). This federally backed flood insurance is available to homeowners, renters and business owners, and offers separate coverage for structures and contents. “There is usually a 30-day waiting period before a new flood insurance policy takes effect, so the time to plan is now,” White said.

For more information about flood insurance, contact your insurance agent or the NFIP at 1-800-427-4661 or or visit Some private insurers also offer their own flood insurance policies, so check with your insurance agent about the availability of a private flood insurance policy. In either case, ask whether your flood policy provides coverage for your personal property.

Virginians also should consider whether their auto insurance covers flood damage to their vehicles. Unlike homeowners insurance, auto insurance generally covers damage caused by flooding. However, the policyholder must have other-than-collision (also known as comprehensive) coverage on their vehicle. This coverage pays for damage to a vehicle from such things as fire, water, hail, vandalism, glass breakage, wind and falling objects.

The SCC’s Bureau of Insurance offers consumer guides regarding homeowners and auto insurance and disaster-related property insurance claims. For copies of the guides or other publications offered by the Bureau of Insurance or answers to your insurance questions, contact the Bureau of Insurance 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 – The Advisory Committee for the Virginia Health Benefit Exchange (Advisory Committee) will hold its inaugural meeting virtually at 1 p.m. on December 7. The Advisory Committee was established to advise and provide recommendations to the Virginia Health Benefit Exchange (Exchange) in carrying out Exchange purposes and duties. The Exchange was created by the 2020 Virginia General Assembly to be an online marketplace where qualified individuals can shop for, compare and enroll in health insurance coverage. The Exchange also provides a small employer program where eligible employees of qualified small employers will be able to enroll in coverage.

The Advisory Committee includes five members appointed by the Governor, five members appointed by the State Corporation Commission (Commission) and five ex-officio members. As part of this inaugural meeting, the members of the Advisory Committee will elect a chair and vice-chair as well as discuss associated committee procedural matters, goals and objectives of the committee and the upcoming state-based exchange platform development project.

The meeting begins at 1 p.m. on Monday, December 7, and will be webcast at  If anyone from the public wishes to comment during the meeting, they must pre-register with the SCC by 5 p.m. on Thursday, December 3, as further provided below. Public witnesses will be called by SCC staff on December 7 in the order in which they registered.

To comment during the meeting, public witnesses must pre-register by 5 p.m. on Thursday, December 3, as follows:

  • Complete the form associated with the meeting date on the webcast page at the address noted above, and email to, or
  • Call the SCC at 804-371-1532 during normal business hours (8:15 a.m. – 5 p.m.) and provide the name and phone number the Commission should dial to reach you during the meeting.

For additional information about the Exchange, visit


Contact: Katha Treanor, 804-371-9141

RICHMOND – Appalachian Power Company has earned a rate of return (profit) that is within the range authorized by Virginia utility law for calendar years 2017, 2018 and 2019. The State Corporation Commission (SCC) made the finding following a triennial financial review of the company in which it was seeking an increase in rates.

The SCC order means Appalachian Power does not receive a rate increase. And, it means customers are not due refunds. The company was seeking to increase rates by approximately $10 per month for a typical residential customer using 1,000 kilowatt hours of electricity.

The company’s authorized rate of return on equity during the three-year review period was 9.42 percent. After reviewing the reasonableness of the company’s expenses and revenues during the period, the Commission determined the company earned slightly above that level.

The Commission also set a new authorized rate of return on equity of 9.2 percent. That is the rate that will be used to evaluate the company’s earnings during the next triennial financial review case in 2023. It will also be the return used for any new rate riders or adjustments to existing riders.

In its final order, the Commission made the following determinations:

  • denied the company’s request to apply the 2015 planned retirements of three coal-fired power plants to 2019 earnings.
  • denied a request to increase the residential basic service charge from $7.96 to $14.
  • denied implementation of a residential rate design that would have charged higher rates during summer months and lower rates during the winter. The company will continue charging the same residential rate year-round.
  • approved voluntary energy efficiency rate schedules to provide residential customers with pricing signals that shift consumption to hours when demand is less, and prices are lower (Smart Demand and Time-of-Use).


Contact: Ken Schrad, 804-371-9858

Case Number PUR-2020-00015 – Application of Appalachian Power Company for a 2020 triennial review of its base rates, terms and conditions
View Final Order 

RICHMOND – With the holiday season quickly approaching, there is no time like the present to review your insurance coverage. Dry pine needles, icy streets and sidewalks, busy kitchens, and overworked outlets are just a few of the seasonal hazards that can impact your financial well-being without 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.

“The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic makes it more critical than ever to plan ahead this year,” said Virginia Insurance Commissioner Scott A. White. “Make sure your insurance coverage is up-to-date so you can minimize any financial damage.”

Take a close look at each of your insurance policies to ensure you know exactly what is – and is not – covered. What about stolen gifts, decorations, or other items from your home or vehicle? A guest suffering an injury at your residence? A fire on the premises? Understand any deductibles or coverage limits that may apply.

What’s more, COVID-19 creates several additional considerations for policyholders:

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

In addition to reviewing your policies, you can also be proactive by keeping your auto insurance company’s contact information and a copy of your insurance card with you when you drive, staying alert of local weather forecasts, and bringing health insurance information – like identification cards and contact details for family members – with you while traveling. Also check that your coverage extends to seasonal activities like skiing, snowboarding, and snowmobiling.

Last, make an early New Year’s resolution to update your home inventory. This will help you ensure your homeowners or renter's policy provides enough coverage for your belongings. It can facilitate the recovery process if you experience loss or damage and have to 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 — myHome — 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 InsureU portion of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners website at


Contact: Ford Carson, 804-371-9141

RICHMOND – Fast-moving and often weighing more than 100 pounds, a deer in the roadway poses a threat to even the most careful driver. Mating season and migration contribute to a dramatic uptick in vehicle-deer collisions during the fall, especially in Virginia, which is among the states with the highest risk of these types of collisions. For this reason, the State Corporation Commission’s (SCC) Bureau of Insurance reminds drivers to stay alert, particularly when traveling during darker times of the day.

“November is the peak month for insurance claims related to vehicle collisions with deer,” said Virginia Insurance Commissioner Scott White. “Contact your insurance agent or company to determine if your policy provides coverage for this type of loss.”

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

The best way, of course, to avoid a collision with a deer altogether is to slow down and stay alert. If a collision is inevitable, however, 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 for surrounding drivers – than swerving sharply and potentially hitting something else. Additionally, a collision with a deer is typically covered by the comprehensive portion of an insurance policy; whereas a collision caused by swerving – into a tree, for example – would instead typically be covered by the collision portion of the policy. Also, if you swerve and go into a ditch or hit a tree, your insurer may consider you to be at fault, which could cause your premium to increase.

Should you collide with a deer, notify law enforcement and your insurance company as soon as possible. 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 Virginians will have protection from surprise medical bills beginning January 1, 2021. Individuals enrolled in fully insured managed care plans in Virginia and state employees will benefit from a new law adopted by the 2020 Session of the Virginia General Assembly to curb balance billing.

Surprise billing – or balance billing – occurs when patients enrolled in managed care health insurance plans receive bills for more than their plan’s cost-sharing amounts directly from medical service providers who do not participate in a managed care plan’s network of providers – often referred to as “out-of-network” providers.

The new law may extend to individuals covered under private insurance they purchase on their own or through their employer. Individuals whose primary coverage is through the state employee health benefit plan and those covered through a health benefit plan purchased through cannot be balance billed for situations covered under the new law. Approximately 40 percent of individuals who receive their health insurance through their employer will have this protection under their fully insured plan. The remaining 60 percent have coverage through a self-funded ERISA or other arrangement where their employer provides benefits that are administered by a third party, which could be a health insurance company. Most of these health plans will have the option to become elective group health plans by choosing to provide these protections for their employees.

For the same protection to apply to individuals enrolled in elective group plans, the plans must choose to opt in by completing and submitting an online application to the State Corporation Commission’s (SCC) Bureau of Insurance (Bureau) at They have until December 2, 2020, to do so for protection to be effective on January 1, 2021. Applications submitted after that date may be effective at a later date. 

Plans that opt in will be listed on the Bureau’s website with other information provided by the Bureau regarding balancing billing. Health plans and healthcare providers can go to Balance Billing under the Regulated Industries tab on the Bureau’s website at Consumer information regarding balancing billing is available by going to Balance Billing Protections under the Consumers tab on the Bureau’s website.

Under the new law, health care facilities and other providers must provide patients with notifications that address how you are protected, when you can be balance billed, and what to do if you are billed too much. Health insurers regulated by the Bureau also must provide notification to enrollees regarding whether they are subject to balance billing and under what circumstances.

Individuals enrolled in plans covered under the new law or plans that have opted into the new law cannot be billed amounts above their cost-share responsibility by an out-of-network provider for emergency services or for certain non-emergency services – including surgery, anesthesia, pathology, radiology and hospitalist service – during a scheduled procedure at an in-network hospital or other health care facility.

If a consumer is treated by an out-of-network health care provider for services covered by the new 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” that is based on payments for the same or similar services in a similar geographic area, thereby eliminating any balance payment by the consumer to the provider for services rendered.

The Bureau will make available on its website a data set that may be used to determine “commercially reasonable” payment amounts to providers. The data utilizes Virginia’s All-Payer Claims Database as an independent source of claims payment information.

As part of the claims resolution process under the balance billing law, the insurer and provider must first try to agree on a payment amount. If they cannot, one of the parties may request arbitration. Applications for individuals interested in becoming arbitrators will soon be available on the Bureau’s website along with instructions for applying. The Bureau’s website will offer a list of approved arbitrators from which parties entering arbitration may choose.

If health care providers have a pattern of violations under the new law without attempting corrective action, they are subject to fines or other remedies by the Virginia Board of Medicine or the Virginia Commissioner of Health. Similarly, insurance companies that are found to engage in a pattern of violations of the new law are subject to fines or other remedies by the SCC. Neither insurance companies nor health care providers may use arbitration as a general business practice for resolving claims payments.

For more information, contact the Virginia Bureau of Insurance toll-free at 1-877-310-6560 or visit its website at Questions related to the arbitrator application, requests to arbitrate, or questions regarding the self-funded opt-in process may be emailed to Consumer questions and complaints about balance billing may be emailed to

# # #

Contact: Katha Treanor, 804-371-9141

Case Number INS-2020-00136

RICHMOND – Many consumers will soon shop for health care coverage during the open enrollment period for the 2021 health insurance marketplace through This open enrollment period for plans under the federal Affordable Care Act (ACA) runs from November 1 through December 15, 2020. After this date, consumers may only buy an ACA-compliant health insurance plan if special enrollment conditions apply to them.

Special enrollment periods (SEP) are available for people who may have recently lost their employer-sponsored health insurance coverage or have had a qualifying life event such as a household change. To learn more, visit's SEP page.

“For 2021 and again in 2022, enrollment and eligibility by Virginians will continue on, the federal health insurance platform. Virginia’s transition to a state-based system – the Virginia Health Benefit Exchange – will be ready by plan year 2023,” said Victoria Savoy, director of the Virginia Health Benefit Exchange.

The Virginia Exchange was created by the 2020 Virginia General Assembly to be operated as a new division within the State Corporation Commission (SCC). It will be an online marketplace where qualified individuals can shop for, compare and enroll in health insurance coverage. Additionally, the Virginia Exchange will create a small employer program where eligible employees of qualified small employers will be able to enroll in coverage.   

Whether you are thinking about changing plans or purchasing a new health insurance plan, the SCC encourages Virginians to review their coverage needs and thoroughly explore all their options. “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 they sign up for any health plan. “Understand enrollment periods, what ACA-compliant plans must cover and where to turn for legitimate information. If you have questions, the Bureau of Insurance 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 such as health care sharing ministries and discount plans might be less expensive than health insurance plans subject to the ACA, but they 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. While they may, in some cases, be less expensive than plans offered through the health insurance marketplace, they often cover less than ACA-compliant marketplace plans; may deny eligibility for coverage or exclude services because of pre-existing conditions, and may apply dollar limits on the amount they will pay.

Whether shopping for health insurance on or off the exchange, the Bureau of Insurance and the Virginia Health Benefit Exchange encourage Virginians to carefully consider what health care services you and your family will need before you sign up for any health insurance plan. Ask yourself:

  • Are anticipated services covered and are there any limits on coverage under each health care coverage option being considered? 
  • Are doctors and medications my family needs covered by the plan being considered? 
  • What are the monthly premiums and costs that coincide with using health services such as co-pays, co-insurance and deductibles? 

Especially during open enrollment, keep the following in mind:

  • In Virginia, is the official website to enroll in ACA plans.
  • For free help understanding your options, find an application assister (navigator and certified application counselor) at
  • Ask for details of any health plan in writing – including cost and coverage – and make sure you understand what you are purchasing.
  • Look for a disclosure indicating whether the health plan complies with the ACA.
  • The open enrollment period for the 2021 health insurance marketplace ends December 15, 2020. Anyone who contacts you to sell individual health insurance plans through an "enrollment period" outside of that is not selling an ACA-compliant policy.
  • Do not provide personal information or send money in response to unsolicited calls or emails.
  • To verify that an insurance agent, agency or company is licensed in Virginia, visit the Bureau’s website at
  • Be wary of telemarketers from the "national enrollment center," "national healthcare center," or other official-sounding name. The marketplace will not call to sell you health insurance.

For more information, contact the Virginia Bureau of Insurance 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 new Virginia Exchange, visit

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


# # #


Contact: Katha Treanor, 804-371-9141

RICHMOND – Ensuring licensed agents, brokers and producers comply with Virginia insurance laws and regulations – while at the same time reducing their costs and regulatory burden whenever possible – are important to the State Corporation Commission’s (SCC) Bureau of Insurance (Bureau).

Early next year, the Bureau will introduce a new $10 insurance license renewal application processing fee per line of authority and, at the same time, significantly reduce existing processing fees for certain types of licenses. These reductions are possible thanks to greater operational efficiencies and collection of the new insurance license renewal application processing fee.

The new $10 renewal fee goes into effect January 1, 2021, for all insurance license types, and accompanies the Bureau’s move to biennial license renewals. Previously, insurance licenses in Virginia were issued in perpetuity. The switch to biennial license renewals brings the Bureau into line with what most other state insurance departments are doing and allows the Bureau to more regularly receive up-to-date contact and other information from agents, such as criminal history and disciplinary actions.  

Certain fee reductions will also take effect January 1, 2021. Currently, the Bureau assesses different application processing fees for certain types of licenses. The fee reduction not only will reduce the amounts paid by these licensees, but also will simplify those payments by establishing a $15 uniform license application processing fee for licenses issued by the Bureau’s Agent Licensing Section. Application processing fees for consultant, surplus lines and viatical settlement brokers will be reduced from $50 to $15 per line of authority. In addition, the public adjuster application processing fee will be reduced from $250 to $15, and the application processing fee for title settlement agent registrations will be reduced from $100 for business entities and $35 for individuals, respectively, to $15.

“The fee reductions reflect the Bureau’s continued commitment to reducing costs for the insurance industry,” said Agent Licensing Manager Richard Tozer. “The past few months have been incredibly challenging for the insurance industry due to COVID-19, and the Bureau is pleased to support insurance agents with these fee reductions to help them keep operating during a pandemic and beyond.”

For questions, contact the Bureau of Insurance Agent Licensing Section at 804-371-9631 or visit its website at

# # #

Contact: Katha Treanor, 804-371-9141

RICHMOND – As the coronavirus pandemic lingers, so does the potential for coronavirus-related investment schemes. Scammers may take advantage of the situation to offer business opportunities for supposed miracle cures or purported innovative technologies to unsuspecting investors.

The State Corporation Commission’s (SCC) Division of Securities and Retail Franchising (Division), along with other securities regulators, are working to prevent coronavirus-related scams. The Division encourages Virginians to use caution when presented with investment opportunities touting products and services related to the coronavirus pandemic.

“COVID-19-related schemes, like many other types of scams, often follow the headlines and prey on people’s fears and uncertainty,” said Division Director Ron Thomas. “Regardless of the type of investment scam, the red flags that an offer may be fraudulent are often the same.”

Thomas encourages Virginians to beware of unsolicited calls, emails or texts, or social media posts and other online promotions regarding investment opportunities that claim to be raising money for companies promising new health care products that can detect, treat or cure the coronavirus. These opportunities may include offers to invest in medical technology or healthcare companies by purchasing membership units in general or limited partnerships, stock, or other investment vehicles, such as private placement offerings, initial coin offerings or other cryptocurrency-related investments, or crowdfunding.

Thomas also urges Virginians to use caution when presented with investment opportunities promising high yield returns with little or no risk, or that offer trendy, complex or exotic investments. “Every investment opportunity carries some degree of risk that you could lose your money,” he said. He recommends using caution when considering investments that refer to returns as “passive income” or “cash flow” and promise to pay returns on a monthly basis.

“Before handing over your hard-earned money, research the investment and the person or company offering it and know where your money is going, how it will be used and how you can get it back,” Thomas said. He offers the following tips when considering any investment opportunity:

  • Do not invest money you cannot afford to lose.
  • Do your research. Ask for details about an investment opportunity and read the fine print. Ask about the risks and fees involved. Never invest in something you do not fully understand.
  • Always verify that an investment and the person offering it are licensed or registered by the appropriate securities regulator. In Virginia, you can find out by contacting the Division of Securities and Retail Franchising in Richmond at 804-371-9051 or toll-free at 1-800-552-7945.
  • Resist high-pressure sales tactics or “can’t miss” opportunities.
  • Be wary of participating in a general partnership or joint venture if you have no specific experience, knowledge or education in the industry sector – which is often the healthcare industry for coronavirus-related frauds – and would have to rely on others’ expertise.
  • Think twice before considering “research reports” or promotions claiming that the products or services of publicly traded companies can prevent, detect or cure coronavirus and that the stock of these companies will dramatically increase in value as a result.
  • Don’t always believe what you see. Con artists are often good at producing professional-looking websites boasting current productivity levels and profits with photos of vaccine or medical equipment production sites. These easily can be faked.

Additionally, Thomas encourages Virginians to report suspected fraudulent COVID-19 or other investment opportunities by contacting the Division of Securities and Retail Franchising at the numbers above or by visiting its website at For more information, visit the North American Securities Administrators Association’s website at


# # #

Contact: Katha Treanor, 804-371-9141

previous page arrow 1


4 5 6 7 8


11 next page arrow


Get updates on the latest in Utility, Financial, and General news