CLEVELAND — Sandy Buchanan today called on Ohio Lt. Governor Mary Taylor, Director, Ohio Department of Insurance, “to open an inquiry into how insurance companies doing business in Ohio plan to handle liability coverage for businesses, property owners, and others who hold risks related to hydraulic fracturing. Such an inquiry should hear from the companies’ customers, and consider how the State can protect customers from unexpected liability.”
The issue emerged in July when an internal memo leaked out of Columbus-based Nationwide Insurance, reading in part,
“After months of research and discussion, we have determined that the exposures presented by hydraulic fracturing are too great to ignore. Risks involved with hydraulic fracturing are now prohibited for General Liability, Commercial Auto, Motor Truck Cargo, Auto Physical Damage and Public Auto coverage.”
Nationwide confirmed that the memo was genuine, and also said that the policy of the company hadn’t changed.
Buchanan’s letter to Taylor said, “Unfortunately, this statement didn’t clarify the company’s position. If nothing has changed, then what change did the internal memo refer to? If risks are “now prohibited,” as the memo stated, then what were they before the memo was written? If, according to the July 13 statement, the company “has not changed our policies or guidelines,” then why was the earlier internal memo written?”
Buchanan also wrote to Ohio Senator Keith Bacon, Chair, Ohio Senate Insurance, Commerce and Labor Committee, and Ohio Representative Jay Hottinger, Chair, Ohio House Insurance Committee, urging them to hold hearings on the issue.
— Paul Ryder, Assistant Director, Ohio Citizen Action