Navigating Non-Renewal: A Guide for Independent Insurance Agents

Receiving notice of a non-renewal from an insurance carrier can be a challenging experience for you and your clients. As the frequency of non-renewals increases, understanding the rights and obligations surrounding this process becomes crucial. From notification requirements to reasons behind non-renewals, agents must know how to advocate effectively for their client’s interests. Let’s delve into non-renewal essentials and how the Ohio Revised Code (ORC) shapes this landscape.

When Can Non-Renewal Occur?

It’s essential to differentiate between cancellation and non-renewal. Cancellation can happen anytime, whereas non-renewal occurs only at the end of the policy’s term. Insurance companies must provide written notice before either cancellation or non-renewal takes effect.

Factors Influencing Non-Renewal:

Non-renewal can stem from various factors, including:

  • Fraud and Payment: Both cancellation and non-renewal can occur if there’s evidence of fraud or failure to make premium payments.
  • Driving Record Impact: Non-renewal may occur due to excessive moving violations, at-fault accidents, or file claims, whereas cancellation is less likely to occur for these reasons.
  • DUI and License Status: Both cancellation and non-renewal can result from DUI convictions or suspended/revoked licenses.
  • Claim History: Insurance carriers may decline renewal based on the insured’s claim history, impacting premiums.
  • Roof Condition: Aging roofs pose a risk, potentially leading to non-renewal if not addressed.
  • Pet Ownership: Certain pet breeds may pose liability risks, leading to non-renewal.
  • Location and Risk: Non-renewals can occur due to increased occurrences and damage in specific areas.

Legal Framework: Ohio Revised Code

The Ohio Revised Code delineates insurers’ rights regarding non-renewal, particularly concerning commercial property, fire, and casualty insurance. Insurers must notify the insured and their agent at least thirty days before the policy’s expiration. Coverage remains in effect if the notice is sent less than thirty days before expiration unless the insured accepts the non-renewal in writing. The insurer must also inform the insured of the post-expiration premium amount.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Understanding common queries surrounding non-renewal is crucial:

  • Notification: Yes, insurers must provide notice before non-renewal.
  • Timing: Non-renewal typically occurs at the end of the policy term.
  • Premium Refund: No, there’s no refund, as it’s the end of the policy term.
  • Effect on Rates: Non-renewal generally doesn’t impact car insurance rates.
  • Company Decision: Insurers can reduce or stop selling policies in specific areas.
  • Impact of Violations: Yes, violations can lead to non-renewal.

Navigating Non-Renewal: Practical Considerations

Here are some practical steps to navigate non-renewals effectively:

  • Educate Clients: Inform clients about the non-renewal process and their rights under ORC.
  • Review Policies: Regularly review policies to identify potential risks for non-renewal.
  • Advocate for your Clients: Advocate for clients’ interests, especially if non-renewal seems unwarranted or unfair.
  • Explore Alternatives: Explore alternative coverage options if necessary.


Navigating non-renewals requires a comprehensive understanding of legal frameworks, client rights, and practical considerations. By equipping themselves with this knowledge, independent insurance agents can effectively advocate for their client’s interests in the face of non-renewal challenges. Stay informed, proactive, and supportive to ensure clients receive the coverage they need and deserve.

Please contact John Wells, OIA’s Government Affairs Manager, at with questions on this issue or any advocacy issues. Also, check out our new agent guide on this issue!

About the Author:

John Wells serves as the Government Affairs Manager for the Ohio Insurance Agents Association. He currently represents Independent Insurance agents as their voice in the statehouse. Previously, John served as Senior Legislative Aide for Senator Steve Wilson (OH-7), as Legislative Aide to Rep Jack O’Malley (MI-101), and as a Regional Field Director for the Republican National Committee. John also serves as the Board President for NAMI Southern Ohio and on the Dinner of Champions Committee for the Ohio MS Society.

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