Market Daily

Market Daily

Blanchet House faces insurance rate hikes

Blanchet House is a Portland-based non-profit social services organization, but like many others, it suffers from the effects of rate hikes.

According to employees, the non-profit organization faces a growing need with rising costs, which is disrupting their operations.

Blanchet House

The non-profit organization was founded in 1925 by a group of students at the University of Portland.

The students founded Blanchet House with the encouragement of their priest, who urged them to take to the streets and help the people.

Initially, it started as a fraternity called the Blanchet Club, named after Rev. Francis Norbert Blanchet, Oregon’s first Catholic pioneer priest.

The club settled into a building to perform its services and eventually renamed it Blanchet House.

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The situation

The executive director of the Blanchet House, Steve Kerman, points to the economic situation as the source of its current problems.

“Goods and services are costing us more, and part of that is insurance,” said Kerman.

“It takes a lot of insurance to operate, to do what we do – housing and meal services – and those costs are going up about 20 percent.”

Additionally, Scott Kerman revealed that Blanchet House has enough private money to keep things afloat but that he’s worried about the rest of the community.

“What I’m really trying to do is just speak up for the non-profits in our community who have been doing extraordinary work under exceptional and unprecedented circumstances and are dealing with the financial challenges as a result.”


According to the Northwest Insurance Council, many factors explain the rise in insurance rates.

President Kenton Brine cites the recovery from recent fires and rising repair costs as among the factors driving insurance rates up.

“I know that insurers are doing their best to keep cost increases as minimal as possible,” said Brine.

“But inflation and these other cost increases can’t help but begin to show up in premiums that people pay for – home, auto, and business insurance in Oregon.”

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Policy solutions

Kenton Brine recommends seeking a policy, suggesting there is still competition for coverage in many other places, including downtown Portland.

“Then do other things that you can to try and reduce your risk. If you can protect windows from being smashed, try to do that,” Brine offered.

“If you can keep flammable materials and debris from piling up outside your business in an alley, try and prevent arson – all those things help make you a better risk for insurers to insure.”

According to Brine, the impact of crime is still hard to overlook. 

“It’s certainly going to be helpful if local leaders try to attack the crime problem more aggressively,” suggested Brine.

“And as crime rates go down and people aren’t experiencing as many claims, you’ll see insurance rates stabilize.”


Portland non-profits struggle with rising insurance rates