Effective Date of Rule: Thirty-one days after filing.
Purpose: The purpose of these new rules is to ensure that insurers and the entities they contract with use the insurer's "legal name" when conducting insurance business.
Statutory Authority for Adoption: RCW 48.02.060.
Adopted under notice filed as WSR 10-01-131 on December 21, 2009.
Changes Other than Editing from Proposed to Adopted Version:
|•||WAC 284-30-670(1), was revised with language to comply with RCW 48.30.010.|
|•||WAC 284-30-670 (3)(a), changed customer to insured.|
|•||WAC 284-30-670 (3)(b), added regarding an investigation, inquiry, enforcement matter or examination.|
|•||WAC 284-30-670 (4)(b), added solely and changed consumers to insureds.|
|•||WAC 284-30-670(5), added of this section by an insurer or its contracted entity.|
|•||New WAC 284-30-670(6), This regulation does not bar the use of trade names, group names, logos or trademarks. To be in compliance with RCW 48.05.190(1), when an insurer uses a trade name, group name, logo or trademark when conducting its business, the insurer must also identify itself by its legal name as required by this section.|
A final cost-benefit analysis is available by contacting Kacy Scott, P.O. Box 40258, Olympia, WA 98504-0258, phone (360) 725-7041, fax (360) 586-3109.
Number of Sections Adopted in Order to Comply with Federal Statute: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0; Federal Rules or Standards: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0; or Recently Enacted State Statutes: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0.
Number of Sections Adopted at Request of a Nongovernmental Entity: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0.
Number of Sections Adopted on the Agency's Own Initiative: New 1, Amended 0, Repealed 0.
Number of Sections Adopted in Order to Clarify, Streamline, or Reform Agency Procedures: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0.
Number of Sections Adopted Using Negotiated Rule Making: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0; Pilot Rule Making: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0; or Other Alternative Rule Making: New 1, Amended 0, Repealed 0.
Date Adopted: June 2, 2010.
WAC 284-30-670 Insurers must transact business in their legal name. (1) The commissioner is adopting this regulation as an unfair practice for the following reasons:
(a) Many insurers fail or periodically fail to comply with the legal name requirement of RCW 48.05.190(1) when transacting insurance business.
(b) When a consumer seeks assistance from the commissioner, the legal name of the company must be determined. When the consumer is unable to provide the information, the commissioner's staff must research it, which unnecessarily wastes the commissioner's resources and delays the inquiry and resolution, posing a risk of harm to the consumer.
(c) Insurers will not accept a lawsuit from their insured if the paperwork does not identify the insurer correctly.
(2) The following definitions apply to this section:
(a) "Legal 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 with which an insurer contracts 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 insurance producers, claims administrators, and managing general agents as defined in RCW 48.98.005(3).
(c) "Transacting business" includes insurance transaction, as defined in RCW 48.01.060.
(3) An insurer must identify itself by its legal name when:
(a) Transacting business with a consumer, insured, potential insured or claimant as defined in WAC 284-30-320(2); and
(b) Communicating orally, electronically, or in writing with the commissioner regarding an investigation, inquiry, enforcement matter or examination. Written communication must also include the insurer's NAIC code.
(4) Advertisements directed to insureds or potential insureds must clearly display the insurer's legal name and the location of its home office or principal office, as required by RCW 48.30.050.
(a) An advertisement by an insurance producer, licensee, or other marketing entity advertising an insurance product common to multiple insurers does not need to include the legal name of the insurer. The advertisement must include the insurance producer, licensee, or other marketing entity's name and address.
(b) Advertisements directed solely to insurance producers, providers, or other marketing entities, but not directed to insureds or potential insureds, are exempt from this subsection.
(5) Each single violation of this section by an insurer or its contracted entity 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.
(6) This regulation does not bar the use of trade names, group names, logos or trademarks. To be in compliance with RCW 48.05.190(1), when an insurer uses a trade name, group name, logo or trademark when conducting its business, the insurer must also identify itself by its legal name as required by this section.