July 13, 2012
Nationwide Statement Regarding Concerns About Hydraulic Fracturing
Columbus, Ohio - Nationwide issued the following statement today regarding insurance coverage concerns related to hydraulic fracturing, better known as “fracking”.
Gas and oil drilling has been going on in this country for many years in the west and southwest. Fracking is another variation of the gas and oil business. In recent years, oil and gas exploration has come to New York, Pennsylvania and Ohio.
Nationwide has not changed our policies or guidelines, nor are we cancelling policies. Fracking-related losses have never been a covered loss under personal or commercial lines policies.
Nationwide's personal and commercial lines insurance policies were not designed to provide coverage for any fracking-related risks.
Insurance works when a carrier can accurately price the coverage to match the risks. When information and claims experience are not available to fully understand the scope of a given risk, carriers aren’t able to price protection that would be fair to both the customer and the company. However, Nationwide will investigate all claims submitted by our customers that they believe are the result of damage from fracking. Every Nationwide claim is reviewed on a case-by-case basis.
From an underwriting standpoint, we do not have a comfort level with the unique risks associated with the fracking process to provide coverage at a reasonable price. Insurance is a contract and it is designed to cover certain risks. Risks like natural gas and oil drilling are not part of our contracts, and this is common across the industry. Our longstanding underwriting guideline is that we do not insure the oil and gas business.
We encourage consumers to be knowledgeable about any risks to their property and assets. For advice, seek the help of financial and legal specialists who can discuss the unique nature of the risks associated with oil and gas exploration. We also advise consumers to talk to their insurance agent to understand what coverage is provided in their personal or commercial lines policies.
Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company, based in Columbus, Ohio, is one of the largest and strongest diversified insurance and financial services organizations in the U.S. and is rated A+ by both A.M. Best and Standard & Poor’s. The company provides customers a full range of insurance and financial services, including auto insurance, motorcycle, boat, homeowners, pet, life insurance, farm, commercial insurance, annuities, mortgages, mutual funds, pensions, long-term savings plans and specialty health services. For more information, visit www.nationwide.com.