WSR 10-01-131

PROPOSED RULES

OFFICE OF

INSURANCE COMMISSIONER

[ Insurance Commissioner Matter No. R 2008-11 -- Filed December 21, 2009, 9:07 a.m. ]

Original Notice.

Preproposal statement of inquiry was filed as WSR 08-09-134.

Title of Rule and Other Identifying Information: Conducting business in own legal name.

Hearing Location(s): OIC Tumwater Office, Training Room 120, 5000 Capitol Boulevard, Tumwater, WA, http://www.insurance.wa.gov/about/directions.shtml, on March 22, 2010, at 10:00 a.m.

Date of Intended Adoption: March 29, 2010.

Submit Written Comments to: Kacy Scott, P.O. Box 40258, Olympia, WA 98504-0258, e-mail kacys@oic.wa.gov, fax (360) 586-3109, by March 21, 2010.

Assistance for Persons with Disabilities: Contact Lorie Villaflores by March 21, 2010, TTY (360) 586-0241 or (360) 725-7087.

Purpose of the Proposal and Its Anticipated Effects, Including Any Changes in Existing Rules: The purpose of these proposed rules is to ensure that insurers and the entities they contract with use their "legal name" when conducting insurance business, which includes all correspondence, policies, communications, and advertisements, so that consumers and the office [of] the insurance commissioner will be able to identify which insurer is involved in any insurance transaction.

Reasons Supporting Proposal: Many insurers are affiliates of holding company systems using a group name to identify the various insurance companies in the holding company system on documents used in transacting business with the public and regulators. When the legal name of the insurance company involved in a particular matter is not accurately and completely identified, consumers and the office of the insurance commissioner may be confused.

Statutory Authority for Adoption: RCW 48.02.060.

Statute Being Implemented: RCW 48.05.190.

Rule is not necessitated by federal law, federal or state court decision.

Name of Proponent: Mike Kreidler, insurance commissioner, governmental.

Name of Agency Personnel Responsible for Drafting: Kacy Scott, P.O. Box 40258, Olympia, WA 98504-0258, (360) 725-7041; Implementation and Enforcement: Carol Sureau, P.O. Box 40255, Olympia, WA 98504-0255, (360) 725-7050.

No small business economic impact statement has been prepared under chapter 19.85 RCW. This rule places additional regulatory burdens on two primary business groups: Insurers and those they contract with as "contracted entities." There are no affected domestic insurers that meet the law's definition of a small business. The only substantively new requirement of the "contracted entities" (some of whom probably are small businesses under the law's definition) is to use their complete mailing address and NAIC company code on all written or electronic communications to consumers or the commissioner. Given the simplicity of complying and the ease of adding this information to correspondence, this requirement will cause these entities to incur only minor costs, as defined under the law. Therefore, no small business economic impact statement is required.

A cost-benefit analysis is required under RCW 34.05.328. A preliminary cost-benefit analysis may be obtained by contacting Kacy Scott, P.O. Box 4025 [40258], Olympia, WA 98504-0258, phone (360) 725-7041, fax (360) 586-3109, e-mail kacys@oic.wa.gov.

December 21, 2009

Mike Kreidler

Insurance Commissioner

OTS-2693.4


NEW SECTION
WAC 284-30-670   Insurers must transact business in their legal name.   (1) Definitions that apply to this section:

(a) "Legal name" or "full name of the insurer" means the name displayed on the Washington state certificate of authority issued by the commissioner.

(b) "Contracted entity" means an entity contracted to transact any aspect of the business of insurance, such as adjudicating claims, determining eligibility, or underwriting or marketing products on behalf of an insurer, and includes such entities as producers, claims administrators, and managing general agents as defined in RCW 48.98.005(3).

(c) "Transacting business" includes the transaction of insurance, as defined in RCW 48.01.060.

(2) Each insurer and contracted entity must identify itself by its own legal name when:

(a) Transacting business with a consumer, insured, potential customer or claimant as defined in WAC 284-30-320(2); and

(b) Communicating orally, electronically, or in writing with the commissioner.

(3) In all written or electronic communications with the commissioner, each insurer and contracted entity must provide its:

(a) Complete mailing address and legal name; and

(b) NAIC company code.

(4) Each insurer and contracted entity must clearly display the insurer's legal name on all advertisements directed to potential insureds.

(a) When a producer, licensee, or other marketing entity advertises an insurer's product that it sells for more than one insurer, it must use its own name and address, and does not need to include the legal name of the insurer.

(b) Advertisements directed to producers, providers, or other marketing entities, but not directed to consumers or potential insureds, are exempt from this subsection.

(5) An insurer must ensure that a contracted entity transacting business on its behalf meets the requirements of this section. Each single violation may subject the insurer to all applicable provisions of Title 48 RCW, including, but not limited to, RCW 48.05.140 and 48.05.185.

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Washington State Code Reviser's Office