OFFICE OF THE
[Filed November 12, 2021, 2:42 p.m., effective January 1, 2022]
Effective Date of Rule: January 1, 2022.
Purpose: When a homeowner has property damage covered under their homeowners insurance policy, the insurance company investigates the loss, valuates the damage, and then issues an actual cash value (ACV) payment. The ACV payment is replacement cost less depreciation. After the repairs are fully completed, the insurance company releases the withheld depreciation to the insured to fulfill their obligation to cover the replacement cost as defined in the policy. Besides applying depreciation to the loss of value due [to] wear and tear, deterioration, and obsolesce to physical material items, some insurance companies are applying depreciation to the labor costs associated with the repair process.
The practice of depreciating labor costs on insurance payments for property damage claims floats a significant part of the labor repair costs to the consumer and their repair contractor, unfairly shifting a burden to the consumer during the repair process and likely against the principle of indemnity. The commissioner has seen a steady rise of policy forms that are writing this practice into their definition of ACV. The commissioner implemented rule making to prohibit the depreciation of labor on property claims.
Citation of Rules Affected by this Order: Amending WAC 284-20-010.
Adopted under notice filed as WSR 21-18-093 on August 30, 2021.
A final cost-benefit analysis is available by contacting David Forte, P.O. Box 40260, Olympia, WA 98504-0260, phone 360-725-7042, fax 360-586-3109, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Number of Sections Adopted in Order to Comply with Federal Statute: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0; Federal Rules or Standards: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0; or Recently Enacted State Statutes: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0.
Number of Sections Adopted at the Request of a Nongovernmental Entity: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0.
Number of Sections Adopted on the Agency's own Initiative: New 0, Amended 1, Repealed 0.
Number of Sections Adopted in Order to Clarify, Streamline, or Reform Agency Procedures: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0.
Number of Sections Adopted using Negotiated Rule Making: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0; Pilot Rule Making: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0; or Other Alternative Rule Making: New 0, Amended 1, Repealed 0.
Date Adopted: November 21, 2021.
AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending Order R 77-2, filed 4/28/77)
WAC 284-20-010Standard fire policies.
(1) This regulation is promulgated pursuant to RCW 48.18.120
(1) to define and effect reasonable uniformity in all basic contracts of fire insurance.
(2) All policies which include coverage against loss or damage by fire are hereby defined to be basic contracts of fire insurance unless they come within the scope of insurance code provisions, or regulations adopted by the commissioner, providing that they may be regarded as marine, inland marine, vehicle, or casualty policies.
(3) Except for the provisions of the next succeeding three paragraphs, no company shall issue any basic contract of fire insurance covering property or interest therein in this state other than on the form known as the 1943 New York Standard Fire Insurance Policy, herein referred to as the "standard fire policy": Provided, however, t
hat such form shall be modified to conform to RCW 48.18.290
with respect to the number of days' notice of cancellation required. In addition, such form shall be modified as necessary to conform to WAC 284-20-020 with respect to inception and expiration times. Such modifications may be by endorsement.
(a) Insurers issuing a standard fire policy pursuant to this regulation are hereby authorized to affix thereto or include therein a written statement that the policy does not cover loss or damage caused by nuclear reaction or nuclear radiation or radioactive contamination, all whether directly or indirectly resulting from an insured peril under said policy: Provided, however, t
hat nothing herein contained shall be construed to prohibit the attachment to any such policy of an endorsement or endorsements specifically assuming coverage for loss or damage caused by nuclear reaction or nuclear radiation or radioactive contamination provided such assumption clause has been filed with and approved by the commissioner in accordance with RCW 48.18.100
(b) The pages of the standard fire policy issued pursuant to this regulation may be renumbered and the format rearranged for convenience in the preparation of individual contracts, and to provide space for the listing of rates and premiums for coverages insured thereunder or under endorsement attached to or printed thereon, and such other data as may be conveniently included for duplication on daily reports for office records.
(c) As an alternative form, a form written in clear, understandable language, which provides terms, conditions and coverages not less favorable to the insured than the "standard fire policy," may be used. Such alternative form may be incorporated in or integrated within a form providing other or additional coverages, as, for example, a homeowners policy or a special multiperil policy. The intent of this subsection is to permit understandable plain language policies and package policies without diminishing any rights an insured would have under the 1943 New York Standard Fire Insurance Policy.
(d) By use of such alternative form, an insurer certifies that it is not less favorable to the insured than the "standard fire policy." If, in the adjustment of claims, any provision of the "standard fire policy" applicable to such claims is found to be more favorable to the insured than the alternative form used, then provisions of the "standard fire policy" shall govern.
(4) Except for the intrinsic labor costs that are included in the cost of manufactured materials or goods, the expense of labor necessary to repair, rebuild, or replace covered property is not a component of physical depreciation and may not be subject to depreciation or betterment.