Nationwide: No Change to Our Policies on Oil and Gas

Despite assertions made over the last several weeks, Nationwide has not issued any new guidelines nor taken any new positions regarding fracking.

With the increase in hydraulic fracking, particularly in the Midwest and Northeast, Nationwide evaluated our position (as we routinely do with any of our coverages) and decided not to make any changes in our long-standing position on exclusions related to drilling operations.  An internal communication sharing an update on this review was drafted, without this broader context, and distributed to agents.  This agent bulletin was then posted on Facebook and taken out of context. This post made it appear as if Nationwide had made an announcement, when in reality we simply decided to maintain an underwriting position we and most other carriers have held for years.

Nationwide has not changed its guidelines in regard to coverage of, or damage resulting from, oil and natural gas extraction activities, including hydrofracking. In addition, Nationwide will not be cancelling or non-renewing existing policies based solely upon the presence of gas leases, gas wells, or hydrofracking on the property.

Nationwide’s underwriting guidelines do not disqualify homeowners or farm policy coverage for homes or farm operations based solely on the presence of a gas lease in force on the property, the presence of gas drilling, or plans for gas drilling in the future.

Nationwide’s policy or treatment of this issue is common practice within the insurance industry, as traditional homeowners or farm owners insurance policies generally do not include coverage specific to the unique processes and activities of the oil/gas development process.

In the end, this “story” isn’t about one insurer. Rather, it’s about reiterating what is common insurance industry practice that traditional homeowners or farm owners policies generally do not anticipate or insure against the specific activities associated with oil and gas exploration.


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