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Ohio Midterm Election Results

Yesterday’s election generated great interest among voters, with voter turnout at 54.3%, the highest for a gubernatorial election year since 1994. 


Statewide Offices

The public polls were once again wrong leading into yesterday’s election. Many anticipated that the Democrats could pick up some statewide offices, including that of governor. Instead, Republicans swept all the statewide executive offices.


Governor
Mike DeWine (R) defeated Richard Cordray (D) 50.66% - 46.45%       


Attorney General
Dave Yost (R) defeated Steve Dettelbach (D) 52.42% - 47.58%            


Auditor of State
Keith Faber (R) defeated Zach Space (D) 49.93% - 46.06%                  


Secretary of State
Frank LaRose (R) defeated Kathleen Clyde (D) 50.92% - 46.73%


Treasurer of State*
Robert Sprague (R) defeated Rob Richardson (D) 53.53% - 46.47%    

What this means for OIA: The next leaders of the Ohio Department of Insurance and the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation will be picked by the DeWine/Husted team. This team’s business-friendly approach should result in sound picks for both state agencies.


Also of note is that DeWine, Faber and LaRose will play key roles following the 2020 census when Ohio draws new maps for Congressional and Statehouse districts that will last for a decade. While Ohio recently passed redistricting reform, the governor, secretary of state and auditor will still sit on the redistricting commission that draws the Statehouse districts and also may engage in the Congressional mapping if needed.


Ohio Supreme Court

Judge Melody Stewart defeated Justice Mary DeGenaro 53-47% and Judge Michael Donnelly beat Judge Craig Baldwin 61-39%. Unfortunately, DeGenaro and Baldwin failed to benefit from the momentum the Republicans had, as voter drop off in these races was high, with more than 900,000 Ohioans skipping these races. The makeup of the court beginning in January will be 5-2, which will quite possibly result in more split decisions and could impact which cases the Court chooses to accept and which cases it rejects. Furthermore, with two seats lost this election, the 2020 election takes on increased importance as two seats will be up for election on the Court, and should Justices French and Kennedy fail to retain their seats, the philosophical makeup of the Court could be dramatically altered to be more activist in nature.   


Ohio House of Representatives

All 99 seats for the Ohio House were on the ballot.  At this point, it looks like the Democrats likely picked up four seats. This would reduce the Republican majority in the House to 62-37. Of significance here is that the House Republicans supermajority (which carries with it veto override authority) remains intact.


Ohio Senate

The Senate Republicans likely picked up another seat, further strengthening their veto proof supermajority. Heading into next year, the Republicans will control 25 of the states 33 senate districts.


OIA PAC Results

This year, OIA PAC contributed just under $57,000 to candidates, with a significant amount of this going to statewide candidates (just under $30,000). Overall, OIA PAC supported 37 candidates this year. Of these candidates, 30 won their races and seven lost. 


With the election now over, legislators will be getting back to work in what is anticipated to be an extremely busy lame duck session.  Look for more information to come on legislative activity that is likely to take place in the coming weeks as the year winds down.


Questions?

As always, don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions!


Supreme Court of Ohio case could have major impact on insurance agency negligence claims

Lady Justice holding scales in front of legal books

When should the statute of limitations begin on an insurance agency negligence claim?

That’s the question the Supreme Court of Ohio will answer in London Insurance vs. LGR Realty – a case that could have a major impact on the entire insurance industry.

LGR Realty filed a complaint against Frank & London Insurance Agency, an independent agency in Columbus, alleging that they received an unsatisfactory insurance policy.

This allegation arose after a third party filed a claim against LGR Realty and the commercial policy carrier, Continental Casualty Company, refused to defend and indemnify.

Frank & London Insurance argues that the statute of limitations clock began running when the policy was issued. However, LGR Realty argues that it was a “delayed-damages” situation and the statute of limitations clock began when Continental Casualty Company refused to defend or indemnify on the third-party claim.

The trial court ruled in favor of Frank & London Insurance Agency, citing that the case was time-barred. LGR Realty appealed this decision, and the 10th District Court of Appeals overturned the trial court ruling.

Recent Supreme Court of Ohio professional negligence cases have nearly rescinded the court’s decision in Kunz v. Buckeye Union Insurance Co., which approved the delayed-damages rule regarding statute of limitations. However, this decision has not been expressly overruled.

The Supreme Court of Ohio will soon determine whether the delayed-damages rule in Kunz v. Buckeye Union Insurance Co. will remain valid.

LGR Realty’s argument rests on the logic that it is unrealistic to expect a policyholder to know the extent of their coverage until harm is suffered. Therefore, the Court should rule that the statute of limitations began when Continental refused to indemnify LGR when they were sued by a third party.

However, Frank & London Insurance argues that since a cause of action in a professional negligence claim begins when the wrongful act is committed, the statute of limitations in this specific case began when LGR Realty purchased their policy.

Additionally, Frank & London Insurance argues that since the Kunz v. Buckeye Union Insurance Co. case, there have been other professional negligence claims where the court held that the statute of limitations begins when the act is committed, not when the discovery of the tort occurs.

A decision by the Supreme Court of Ohio is expected to be issued soon. Stay tuned for more updates!

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Agent perspectives: OIA Advocacy Day showcases impact of IAs

OIA members standing outside Ohio Statehouse image

Independent insurance agents proved to be a powerful force at the Ohio Statehouse on OIA Advocacy Day held in May. 

Our member agents spent the day advocating on behalf of Ohio consumers and educating legislators on the value of independent agents in local communities. Thanks to everyone who participated and made this year’s event a success!

Two important issues, top priorities for OIA’s advocacy team, took center stage during agents’ conversations with legislators:

  • Modernizing Ohio’s auto insurance verification system with the latest technology and best practices to identify uninsured motorists. 

  • Protecting consumers from “storm chasers,” residential roofing contractors who deceive customers about unnecessary repairs following severe weather. 

A diverse group of independent agents from across the state took part in Advocacy Day, from next-gen agents to experienced industry leaders.

OIA member agents at OIA's Advocacy DayOIA staff and member agents got to meet and network with Ohio legislatorsOIA staff and member agents outside of the Ohio Statehouse

For several attendees, this was their first foray into the advocacy arena, and they were excited to become more involved. We chatted with a few attendees to learn more about why they participated in OIA Advocacy Day: 


“I’ve been in the insurance industry for 11 years, but this is my first time participating in Advocacy Day. When I first heard about this event, I thought about the main issues impacting my clients, and the uninsured motorists issue is something I see at our agency all the time. It’s an issue with such a huge impact, from consumers to small and large businesses. This is also a great networking opportunity with legislators, the OIA team and my peers in the industry." Andrew Crouch, CMS Insurance Agency, Inc. (Cincinnati, OH) 

“As independent agents, we are experts in our industry, so it’s up to us to share information with our local representatives. When they have questions, I want to be a resource, somebody who they can call to learn more about insurance and important issues impacting our industry. My takeaway from this experience is to take that next step and start building relationships.” Janie Geis, Wichert Insurance Services, Inc. (Cuyahoga Falls, OH) 


“Advocacy Day is all about touching base with members of our legislature to maintain or establish relationships. I try to reach out on a regular basis to let them know about the issues that matter most to me as an independent agent and why they should care about them too. My hope is for independent agents to be viewed as a significant part of their constituency."  Brent Phelan, Phelan Insurance Agency, Inc. (Versailles, OH