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Introduced Version House Bill 2617 History

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Key: Green = existing Code. Red = new code to be enacted

WEST virginia legislature

2019 regular session

Introduced

House Bill 2617

By Delegates Westfall, Hott, D. Jeffries,  Espinosa and Porterfield

[Introduced January 23, 2019; Referred
to the Committee on Banking and Insurance then the Judiciary.]

A BILL to amend and reenact §33-6-31d of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, relating to the form for making offer of optional uninsured and underinsured coverage by insurers; requiring Insurance Commissioner to provide for the use of electronic means of delivery and electronic signing of form; and requiring an insurer when offering to place an insured with an affiliate of the insurer, to make available a new uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage offer form.

Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:


ARTICLE 6. THE INSURANCE POLICY.


§33-6-31d. Form for making offer of optional uninsured and underinsured coverage.

(a) Optional limits of uninsured motor vehicle coverage and underinsured motor vehicle coverage required by §33-6-31 of this code shall be made available to the named insured at the time of initial application for liability coverage and upon any request of the named insured on a form prepared and made available by the Insurance Commissioner. The contents of the form shall be as prescribed by the commissioner and shall specifically inform the named insured of the coverage offered and the rate calculation therefor, including, but not limited to, all levels and amounts of such coverage available and the number of vehicles which will be subject to the coverage. The commissioner shall provide for the use of electronic means of delivery and electronic signing when issuing the prescribed form. The form shall be made available for use on or before the effective date of this section. The form shall allow any named insured to waive any or all of the coverage offered.

(b) Any insurer who issues a motor vehicle insurance policy in this state shall provide the form to each person who applies for the issuance of such policy by delivering the form to the applicant or by mailing the form to the applicant. together with the applicant's initial premium notice Insurers may deliver the form by electronic means. Delivery by “electronic means” includes delivery  to  an  electronic  mail  address  at which an applicant or policyholder has consented to receive notices or  documents,  or by posting on an electronic network or site accessible via the Internet, electronic device or mobile application, at or from which the applicant or policyholder has consented to receive delivery or by any other delivery method that has been consented to by the applicant or policyholder. Any document delivered electronically satisfies any font, size, color, spacing, or other format requirements that are established for printed documents, provided that the format in the document delivered electronically has reasonably similar proportions or emphasis for the characters relative to the rest of the electronic document. The applicant shall complete, date and sign the form and return the form to the insurer within 30 days after receipt thereof. Any signature executed in conformity with the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act shall be enforceable as provided by that act. No insurer or agent thereof is liable for payment of any damages applicable under any optional uninsured or underinsured coverage authorized by §33-6-31 of this code for any incident which occurs from the date the form was mailed or delivered to the applicant until the insurer receives the form and accepts payment of the appropriate premium for the coverage requested therein from the applicant: Provided, That if prior to the insurer's receipt of the executed form the insurer issues a policy to the applicant which provides for such optional uninsured or underinsured coverage, the insurer is liable for payment of claims against such optional coverage up to the limits provided therefor in such policy. The contents of a form described in this section which has been signed by an applicant creates a presumption that such applicant and all named insureds received an effective offer of the optional coverages described in this section and that such applicant exercised a knowing and intelligent election or rejection, as the case may be, of such offer as specified in the form. Such election or rejection is binding on all persons insured under the policy.

(c) Any insurer who has issued a motor vehicle insurance policy in this state which is in effect on the effective date of this section shall mail or otherwise deliver the form to any person who is designated in the policy as a named insured. A named insured shall complete, date and sign the form and return the form to the insurer within 30 days after receipt thereof. No insurer or agent thereof is liable for payment of any damages in any amount greater than any limits of such coverage, if any, provided by the policy in effect on the date the form was mailed or delivered to such named insured for any incident which occurs from the date the form was mailed or delivered to such named insured until the insurer receives the form and accepts payment of the appropriate premium for the coverage requested therein from the applicant. The contents of a form described in this section which has been signed by any named insured creates a presumption that all named insureds under the policy received an effective offer of the optional coverages described in this section and that all such named insured exercised a knowing and intelligent election or rejection, as the case may be, of such offer as specified in the form. Such election or rejection is binding on all persons insured under the policy.

(d) Failure of the applicant or a named insured to return the form described in this section to the insurer as required by this section within the time periods specified in this section creates a presumption that such person received an effective offer of the optional coverages described in this section and that such person exercised a knowing and intelligent rejection of such offer. Such rejection is binding on all persons insured under the policy.

(e) The insurer shall make such forms available to any named insured who requests different coverage limits on or after the effective date of this section. No insurer is required to make such form available or notify any person of the availability of such optional coverages authorized by this section except as required by this section.

(f) Notwithstanding any of the provisions of this article six of this chapter to the contrary, including §33-6-31f of this code, for insurance policies in effect on December 31, 2015, insurers are not required to offer or obtain new uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage offer forms as described in this section on any insurance policy to comply with the amount of the minimum required financial responsibility limits set forth in §17D-4-2(b) of this code. All such offer forms that were executed prior to January 1, 2016, shall remain in full force and effect.

(g) If an insurer offers to place an insured with an affiliate of the insurer, the insurer shall make available a new uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage offer form, in the manner provided by and pursuant to subsections (a) and (b) of this section.  A named insured shall complete, date and sign the form as provided by subsection (b) of this section and return the form to the insurer within 30 days after receipt thereof.  If an insured does not return the form within 30 days, then the last form previously signed by the insured for the insurer or any affiliate shall govern the amount of uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage provided by the newly issuing insurer, which shall remain binding on all persons insured under the policy.

 

NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to require the Insurance Commissioner to provide for the use of electronic means of delivery and electronic signing of the form for making an offer of optional uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage by insurers. It also requires an insurer, when offering to place an insured with an affiliate of the insurer, to make available a new uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage offer form.

Strike-throughs indicate language that would be stricken from a heading or the present law and underscoring indicates new language that would be added.

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