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§33-36-1. Short title.

This article may be cited as the "Business Transacted with Producer Controlled Insurer Act."

§33-36-2. Definitions.

As used in this article:

(a) "Accredited state" means a state in which the insurance department or regulatory agency has qualified as meeting the minimum financial regulatory standards promulgated and established from time to time by the national association of insurance commissioners.

(b) "Control" or "controlled" means the possession, direct or indirect, of the power to direct or cause the direction of the management and policies of a person, whether through the ownership of voting securities, by contract other than a commercial contract for goods or nonmanagement services, or otherwise, unless the power is the result of an official position with or corporate office held by the person. Control shall be presumed to exist if any person, directly or indirectly, owns, controls, holds with the power to vote, or holds proxies representing ten percent or more of the voting securities of any other person or controls or appoints a majority of the board of directors, voting members or similar governing body of any other person. This presumption may be rebutted by a showing made in the manner provided by subsection (l), section four, article twenty-seven of this chapter that control does not exist in fact. The commissioner may determine, after furnishing all persons in interest notice and opportunity to be heard and making specific findings of fact to support the determination, that control exists in fact, notwithstanding the absence of a presumption to that effect.

(c) "Controlled insurer" means a licensed insurer which is controlled, directly or indirectly, by a producer.

(d) "Controlling producer" means a producer who, directly or indirectly, controls an insurer.

(e) "Licensed insurer" or "insurer" means any person, firm, association or corporation duly licensed to transact a property or casualty insurance business, or both property and casualty insurance, in this state: Provided, That the following are not licensed insurers for the purposes of this article:

(1) All residual market pools and joint underwriting authorities or associations; and

(2) All captive insurance companies as defined in article thirty-one of this chapter: Provided, That a captive insurance company organized as a risk retention group shall be considered a licensed insurer for the purposes of this article.

(f) "Producer" means an insurance broker or brokers or any other person, firm, association or corporation, when, for any compensation, commission or other thing of value, the person, firm, association or corporation acts or aids in any manner in soliciting, negotiating or procuring the making of any insurance contract on behalf of an insured other than the person, firm, association or corporation: Provided, That the designation of any individual or entity as a producer does not expand upon or provide for activities beyond those permitted by article twelve of this chapter.

§33-36-3. Applicability.

This article applies to licensed insurers as defined in section two of this article, either domiciled in this state or domiciled in a state that does not have in effect a substantially similar law. All provisions of article twenty-seven of this chapter, to the extent they are not superseded by this article, shall continue to apply to all parties within holding company systems subject to this article.

§33-36-4. Minimum standards.

(a) The provisions of this section apply if, in any calendar year, the aggregate amount of gross written premium on business placed with a controlled insurer by a controlling producer is equal to or greater than five percent of the admitted assets of the controlled insurer, as reported in the controlled insurers' quarterly statement filed as of September 30, of the prior year: Provided, That the provisions of this section shall not apply if:

(1) The controlling producer:

(A) Places insurance only with the controlled insurer or only with the controlled insurer and a member or members of the controlled insurer's holding company system or the controlled insurer's parent, affiliate or subsidiary and receives no compensation based upon the amount of premiums written in connection with such insurance; and

(B) Accepts insurance placements only from nonaffiliated subproducers, and not directly from insureds; and

(2) The controlled insurer accepts insurance business only from a controlling producer, a producer controlled by the controlled insurer, or a producer that is a subsidiary of the controlled insurer: Provided, That the provisions of this subdivision do not apply to insurance business written through a residual market facility such as the "West Virginia Essential Property Insurance Association" or the "West Virginia Automobile Insurance Plan."

(b) A controlled insurer may not accept business from a controlling producer and a controlling producer may not place business with a controlled insurer unless there is a written contract between the controlling producer and the insurer specifying the responsibilities of each party, which contract has been approved by the board of directors of the insurer and contains the following minimum provisions:

(1) The controlled insurer may terminate the contract for cause, upon written notice to the controlling producer. The controlled insurer shall suspend the authority of the controlling producer to write business during the pendency of any dispute regarding the cause for the termination;

(2) The controlling producer shall render accounts to the controlled insurer detailing all material transactions, including information necessary to support all commissions, charges and other fees received by, or owing to, the controlling producer;

(3) The controlling producer shall remit all funds due under the terms of the contract to the controlled insurer on at least a monthly basis. The due date shall be fixed so that premiums or installments thereof collected shall be remitted no later than ninety days after the effective date of any policy placed with the controlled insurer under this contract;

(4) All funds collected for the controlled insurer's account shall be held by the controlling producer in a fiduciary capacity, in one or more appropriately identified bank accounts in banks that are members of the federal reserve system, in accordance with the applicable provisions of this chapter. However, funds of a controlling producer not required to be licensed in this state shall be maintained in compliance with the requirements of the controlling producer's domiciliary jurisdiction;

(5) The controlling producer shall maintain separately identifiable records of business written for the controlled insurer;

(6) The contract may not be assigned in whole or in part by the controlling producer;

(7) The controlled insurer shall provide the controlling producer with its underwriting standards, rules and procedures manuals setting forth the rates to be charged and the conditions for the acceptance or rejection of risks. The controlling producer shall adhere to the standards, rules, procedures, rates and conditions. The standards, rules, procedures, rates and conditions shall be the same as those applicable to comparable business placed with the controlled insurer by a producer other than the controlling producer;

(8) The rates and terms of the controlling producer's commissions, charges or other fees and the purposes for those charges or fees. The rates of the commissions, charges and other fees may be no greater than those applicable to comparable business placed with the controlled insurer by producers other than controlling producers. For purposes of this subdivision and subdivision (7) of this subsection, examples of "comparable business" includes the same lines of insurance, same kinds of insurance, same kinds of risks, similar policy limits and similar quality of business;

(9) If the contract provides that the controlling producer, on insurance business placed with the insurer, is to be compensated contingent upon the insurer's profits on that business, then the compensation may not be determined and paid until at least five years after the premiums on liability insurance are earned and at least one year after the premiums are earned on any other insurance. In no event may the commissions be paid until the adequacy of the controlled insurer's reserves on remaining claims has been independently verified pursuant to subdivision (1), subsection (d) of this section;

(10) A limit on the controlling producer's writings in relation to the controlled insurer's surplus and total writings. The insurer may establish a different limit for each line or subline of business. The controlled insurer shall notify the controlling producer when the applicable limit is approached and shall not accept business from the controlling producer if the limit is reached. The controlling producer may not place business with the controlled insurer if it has been notified by the controlled insurer that the limit has been reached; and

(11) The controlling producer may negotiate but may not bind reinsurance on behalf of the controlled insurer on business the controlling producer places with the controlled insurer, except that the controlling producer may bind facultative reinsurance contracts pursuant to obligatory facultative agreements if the contract with the controlled insurer contains underwriting guidelines including, for both reinsurance assumed and ceded, a list of reinsurers with which the automatic agreements are in effect, the coverages and amounts or percentages that may be reinsured and commission schedules.

(c) Every controlled insurer shall have an audit committee of the board of directors composed of independent directors. The audit committee shall annually meet with management, the insurer's independent certified public accountants, and an independent casualty actuary or other independent loss reserve specialist acceptable to the commissioner to review the adequacy of the insurer's loss reserves.

(d) In addition to any other required loss reserve certification, the controlled insurer shall annually, on April 1 of each year, file with the commissioner the following:

(1) An opinion of an independent casualty actuary or any other independent loss reserve specialist acceptable to the commissioner, reporting loss ratios for each line of business written and attesting to the adequacy of loss reserves established for losses incurred and outstanding as of year-end, including incurred but not reported losses, on business placed by the producer; and

(2) A report and summary of the amount of commissions paid to the producer, the percentage such amount represents of the net premiums written and comparable amounts and percentage paid to noncontrolling producers for placements of the same kinds of insurance.

§33-36-5. Disclosure.

The producer, prior to the effective date of the policy, shall deliver written notice to the prospective insured disclosing the relationship between the producer and the controlled insurer. If the business is placed through a subproducer who is not a controlling producer, the controlling producer shall retain in his records a signed commitment from the subproducer that the subproducer is aware of the relationship between the insurer and the producer and that the subproducer has or will notify the insured.

§33-36-6. Penalties.

(a) If the commissioner believes that the controlling producer or any other person has not materially complied with this article, or any rule or order promulgated hereunder, after notice and opportunity to be heard, the commissioner may order the controlling producer to cease placing business with the controlled insurer.

(b) If it is found that because of any material noncompliance that the controlled insurer or any policyholder thereof has suffered any loss or damage, the commissioner may maintain a civil action or intervene in an action brought by or on behalf of the insurer or policyholder for recovery of compensatory damages for the benefit of the insurer or policyholder or other appropriate relief.

(c) If an order for liquidation or rehabilitation of the controlled insurer has been entered pursuant to article ten of this chapter and the receiver appointed under that order believes that the controlling producer or any other person has not materially complied with this article or any rule or order promulgated hereunder, and the insurer suffered any loss or damage therefrom, the receiver may maintain a civil action for recovery of damages or other appropriate sanctions for the benefit of the insurer.

(d) Nothing contained in this section may affect the right of the commissioner to impose any other penalties provided for in this chapter.

(e) Nothing contained in this section is intended to or may in any manner alter or affect the rights of policyholders, claimants, creditors or other third parties.

§33-36-7. Effective date.

Controlled insurers and controlling producers who are not in compliance with section four of this article on its effective date have sixty days to come into compliance. The controlled insurers and controlling producers have sixty days after the effective date of this article to comply with section five of this article.

Note: WV Code updated with legislation passed through the 2017 Regular Session
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