BISMARCK, N.D. – A North Dakota district judge has denied a motion to dismiss a case and granted a preliminary injunction against the Pennsylvania Insurance Commissioner, a win for North Dakota consumers.
In 2022, North Dakota Insurance Commissioner Jon Godfread filed a lawsuit on behalf of the State of North Dakota in federal court against then-Pennsylvania Insurance Commissioner Jessica K. Altman, later succeeded by Mike Humphreys (Godfread, et al v. Altman, et al). The lawsuit was filed after defunct long-term care insurance company Senior Health Insurance Company of Pennsylvania (SHIP) had operations and finances seized by the Pennsylvania Insurance Commissioner in 2020. To keep the plan afloat, Pennsylvania officials sought to impose rate hikes and benefit reductions on policyholders across the country.
North Dakota Century Code requires approval of all proposed rate or benefit changes by the North Dakota Commissioner. Officials in Pennsylvania pursued to implement rate increases or benefit decreases on existing long-term care insurance policyholders without approval, violating North Dakota insurance and consumer protection laws. SHIP has approximately 371 policyholders in North Dakota.
The South Central District Court has denied a motion to dismiss the complaint by North Dakota Insurance Commissioner Jon Godfread against Pennsylvania Insurance Commissioner Mike Humphreys. The court granted a preliminary injunction halting the implementation of unapproved rates on North Dakota Consumers.
“We are very pleased with the decision by the court in this matter,” said Godfread. “We have laws in place here in North Dakota that protect consumers. No person or state can ignore the laws in another state simply because it’s inconvenient or burdensome for them.”
The case was moved from federal court to state court earlier this year because the federal court found that jurisdiction was proper to state court.
Similar cases have been filed against the Pennsylvania Insurance Commissioner in Iowa, Louisiana and South Carolina.