Effective Date of Rule: Thirty-one days after filing.
Purpose: The rule requires parties to follow the civil rules of procedure for discovery for adjudicative hearings or contested administrative proceedings with the office of the insurance commissioner.
Citation of Existing Rules Affected by this Order: Amending WAC 284-02-070.
Statutory Authority for Adoption: RCW 48.02.060.
Other Authority: RCW 34.05.446(2).
Adopted under notice filed as WSR 09-14-101 on June 30, 2009.
Number of Sections Adopted in Order to Comply with Federal Statute: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0; Federal Rules or Standards: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0; or Recently Enacted State Statutes: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0.
Number of Sections Adopted at Request of a Nongovernmental Entity: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0.
Number of Sections Adopted on the Agency's Own Initiative: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0.
Number of Sections Adopted in Order to Clarify, Streamline, or Reform Agency Procedures: New 0, Amended 1, Repealed 0.
Number of Sections Adopted Using Negotiated Rule Making: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0; Pilot Rule Making: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0; or Other Alternative Rule Making: New 0, Amended 1, Repealed 0.
Date Adopted: September 2, 2009.
AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending Matter No. R 2008-10, filed 7/2/08, effective 8/2/08)
WAC 284-02-070 How does the OIC conduct hearings? (1) Generally.
(a) Hearings of the OIC are conducted according to chapter 48.04 RCW and the Administrative Procedure Act (chapter 34.05 RCW). In addition to general hearings conducted pursuant to RCW 48.04.010, two specific types of hearings are conducted pursuant to the Administrative Procedure Act: Rule-making hearings and adjudicative proceedings or contested case hearings. Contested case hearings include appeals from disciplinary actions taken by the commissioner.
(b) How to demand or request a hearing. Under RCW 48.04.010 the commissioner is required to hold a hearing upon demand by any person aggrieved by any act, threatened act, or failure of the commissioner to act, if the failure is deemed an act under the insurance code or the Administrative Procedure Act.
(i) Hearings can be demanded by an aggrieved person based on any report, promulgation, or order of the commissioner.
(ii) Requests for hearings must be in writing and delivered to the Tumwater office of the OIC. The request must specify how the person making the demand has been aggrieved by the commissioner, and must specify the grounds to be relied upon as the basis for the relief sought.
(c) Accommodation will be made for persons needing assistance, for example, where English is not their primary language, or for hearing impaired persons.
(2) Proceedings for contested cases or adjudicative hearings.
(a) Provisions specifically relating to disciplinary action taken against persons or entities authorized by the OIC to transact the business of insurance are contained in RCW 48.17.530, 48.17.540, 48.17.550, 48.17.560, chapter 48.102 RCW, and other chapters related to specific licenses. Provisions applicable to other adjudicative proceedings are contained in chapter 48.04 RCW and the Administrative Procedure Act (chapter 34.05 RCW). The uniform rules of practice and procedure appear in Title 10 of the Washington Administrative Code. The grounds for disciplinary action against insurance agents, brokers, solicitors, and adjusters are contained in RCW 48.17.530; grounds for similar action against insurance companies are contained in RCW 48.05.140; grounds for actions against fraternal benefit societies are found at RCW 48.36A.300 (domestic) and RCW 48.36A.310 (foreign); grounds for actions against viatical settlement providers are found in chapter 48.102 RCW; grounds for actions against health care service contractors are contained in RCW 48.44.160; and grounds for action against health maintenance organizations are contained in RCW 48.46.130. Grounds for actions against other persons or entities authorized by the OIC under Title 48 RCW are found in the chapters of Title 48 RCW applicable to those licenses.
(b) The insurance commissioner may suspend or revoke any license, certificate of authority, or registration issued by the OIC. In addition, the commissioner may generally levy fines against any persons or organizations having been authorized by the OIC.
(c) Adjudicative proceedings or contested case hearings of the insurance commissioner are informal in nature, and compliance with the formal rules of pleading and evidence is not required.
(i) The insurance commissioner may delegate the authority to hear and determine the matter and enter the final order under RCW 48.02.100 and 34.05.461 to a presiding officer; or may use the services of an administrative law judge in accordance with chapter 34.12 RCW and the Administrative Procedure Act (chapter 34.05 RCW). The initial order of an administrative law judge will not become a final order without the commissioner's review (RCW 34.05.464).
(ii) The hearing will be recorded by any method chosen by the presiding officer. Except as required by law, the OIC is not required, at its expense, to prepare a transcript. Any party, at the party's expense, may cause a reporter approved by the presiding officer to prepare a transcript from the agency's record, or cause additional recordings to be made during the hearing if, in the opinion of the presiding officer, the making of the additional recording does not cause distraction or disruption. If appeal from the insurance commissioner's order is made to the superior court, the recording of the hearing will be transcribed and certified to the court.
(iii) The insurance commissioner or the presiding officer may allow any person affected by the hearing to be present during the giving of all testimony and will allow the aggrieved person a reasonable opportunity to inspect all documentary evidence, to examine witnesses, and to present evidence. Any person heard must make full disclosure of the facts pertinent to the inquiry.
(iv) Unless a person aggrieved by an order of the insurance commissioner demands a hearing within ninety days after receiving notice of that order, or in the case of persons or entities authorized by the OIC to transact the business of insurance under Title 48 RCW, within ninety days after the order was mailed to the most recent address shown in the OIC's licensing records, the right to a hearing is conclusively deemed to have been waived (RCW 48.04.010(3)).
(v) Prehearing or other conferences for settlement or simplification of issues may be held at the discretion and direction of the presiding officer.
(d) Discovery is available in adjudicative proceedings and contested cases pursuant to Civil Rules 26 through 37 as now or hereafter amended without first obtaining the permission of the presiding officer or the administrative law judge in accordance with RCW 34.05.446(2).
(i) Civil Rules 26 through 37 are adopted and incorporated by reference in this section, with the exception of CR 26 (j) and (3) and CR 35, which are not adopted for purposes of this section.
(ii) The presiding officer or administrative law judge is authorized to make any order that a court could make under CR 37 (a) through (e), including an order awarding expenses of the motion to compel discovery or dismissal of the action.
(iii) This rule does not limit the presiding officer's or administrative law judge's discretion and authority to condition or limit discovery as set forth in RCW 34.05.446(3).
(3) Rule-making hearings. Rule-making hearings are conducted based on requirements found in the Administrative Procedure Act (chapter 34.05 RCW) and chapter 34.08 RCW (the State Register Act).
(a) Under applicable law all interested parties must be provided an opportunity to express their views concerning a proposed rule, either orally or in writing. The OIC will accept comments on proposed rules by mail, electronic telefacsimile transmission, or electronic mail but will not accept comments by recorded telephonic communication or voice mail (RCW 34.05.325(3)).
(b) Notice of intention of the insurance commissioner to adopt a proposed rule or amend an existing rule is published in the state register and is sent to anyone who has requested notice in advance and to persons who the OIC determines would be particularly interested in the proceeding. Persons requesting paper copies of all proposed rule-making notices of inquiry and hearing notices may be required to pay the cost of mailing these notices (RCW 34.05.320(3)).
(c) Copies of proposed new rules and amendments to existing rules as well as information related to how the public may file comments are available on the OIC web site (www.insurance.wa.gov).
[Statutory Authority: RCW 48.02.060 and 34.05.220. 08-14-170 (Matter No. R 2008-10), § 284-02-070, filed 7/2/08, effective 8/2/08; 07-01-048 (Matter No. R 2003-09), § 284-02-070, filed 12/14/06, effective 1/14/07. Statutory Authority: RCW 48.02.060 and 34.05.220 (1)(b). 96-09-038 (Matter No. R 96-3), § 284-02-070, filed 4/10/96, effective 5/11/96. Statutory Authority: RCW 48.02.060 (3)(a). 91-17-013 (Order R 91-5), § 284-02-070, filed 8/13/91, effective 9/13/91; 88-23-079 (Order R 88-10), § 284-02-070, filed 11/18/88; Order R-68-6, § 284-02-070, filed 8/23/68, effective 9/23/68.]