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§33-4-20. Cancellation, nonrenewal or limitation of coverage of life or sickness and accident insurance.

(a) For purposes of this section, the following definitions shall apply:

(1) "Abuse," as used in this section, means the occurrence of one or more of the following acts between family or household members:

(A) Attempting to cause or intentionally, knowingly or recklessly causing physical harm to another with or without dangerous or deadly weapons;

(B) Placing another in reasonable apprehension of physical harm;

(C) Creating fear of physical harm by harassment, psychological abuse or threatening acts;

(D) Committing either sexual assault or sexual abuse as those terms are defined in articles eight-b and eight-d, chapter sixty-one of this code;

(E) Holding, confining, detaining or abducting another person against that person's will;

(F) Intentionally or recklessly damaging, destroying or taking the tangible property of another individual;

(G) Insulting, taunting or challenging another individual or engaging in a course of alarming or distressing conduct in a manner which is likely to provoke a violent or disorderly response or which is likely to cause humiliation, degradation or fear in another individual;

(H) Trespassing on or in the property of another individual, or on or in property from which the trespasser has been excluded by court order;

(I) Child abuse or neglect, as defined in section three, article one, chapter forty-nine of this code;

(J) Kidnapping, concealment or removal of a minor child from his or her custodian or from a person entitled to visitation, as set forth in sections fourteen through fourteen-e, article two, chapter sixty-one of this code.

(2) "Family or household member" means current or former spouses, persons living as spouses, persons who formerly resided as spouses, parents, children and stepchildren, current or former sexual or intimate partners, other persons related by blood or marriage, persons who are presently or in the past have resided or cohabited together or a person with whom the victim has a child in common.

(3) "Victim of abuse," as used in this section, means an individual who has been or is subject to abuse, including, but not limited to, an individual who seeks, has sought or should have sought medical or psychological treatment for abuse, protection from abuse or shelter from abuse.

(b) For all policies issued or renewed after the effective date of this section, no person or entity engaged in the business of providing life or health insurance, or both, in this state may:

(1) Deny, refuse to issue, refuse to renew, refuse to reissue, cancel or otherwise terminate an insurance policy or restrict coverage on any individual because that individual is, has been or may be the victim of abuse;

(2) Add any surcharge or rating factor to a premium of an insurance policy because an individual has been or may be the victim of abuse;

(3) Exclude or limit coverage for losses or deny a claim incurred because an individual has been or may be the victim of abuse; or

(4) Require as part of the application process any information regarding whether that individual has been or may be the victim of abuse.

(c) Nothing in this section may be construed to prohibit a person from declining to issue an insurance policy insuring the life of an individual who is or has been the victim of abuse if the perpetrator of abuse is the applicant or would be the owner of the insurance policy.

(d) Nothing in this section may be construed to prohibit a person from underwriting or rating a risk on the basis of a preexisting physical or mental condition, even if the condition had been caused by abuse: Provided, That:

(1) The person routinely underwrites or rates the condition in the same manner with respect to an insured or an applicant who is not a victim of abuse;

(2) The fact that an individual is, has been, or may be the victim of abuse may not be considered a physical or mental condition; and

(3) The underwriting or rating is not used to evade the intent of this law or any other provision of law. A person may not be held civilly or criminally liable for any cause of action which may be brought because of compliance with this section.

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