For Consumers

Overview and history

About us

The Office of the Insurance Commissioner, headed by Commissioner Mike Kreidler, oversees Washington state's insurance industry to protect consumers and make sure that companies, agents and brokers follow the rules.

With 242 employees (and 400 volunteers), we are one of the smaller state agencies, but we cover a lot of ground:

  • Holding down costs to consumers by reviewing insurers' proposed rates.
  • Answering questions and investigating problems from more than 100,000 consumers each year.
  • Recovering millions of dollars a year for consumers with insurance disputes or delays.
  • Licensing and auditing the 37 insurers based in Washington -- and monitoring the other 2,135 that do business here.
  • Testing, licensing and monitoring the more than 158,000 individuals and businesses that sell insurance here.
  • Collecting more than $1.1 billion a biennium for the state’s general operating budget.
  • Maintaining a statewide network of volunteers who advise thousands of consumers on health care issues.

We do this with virtually no state general-fund dollars. Most of our budget comes from assessments charged to the insurers we regulate.

Mission statement

We protect consumers, the public interest and our state’s economy through fair and efficient regulation of the insurance industry. 

History

Washington's first state legislature created the office during the 1889-90 session.

At first, we were part of the Secretary of State’s office. Our main function was to register insurers doing business in Washington state.

In 1907, we became a separate agency and the people of Washington elected their first insurance commissioner. Insurance commissioners are elected every four years. Washington has had eight insurance commissioners. View a list of past commissioners.