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48.31C.020  <<  48.31C.030 >>   48.31C.040

RCW 48.31C.030

Acquisition of a domestic health carrier — Filing — Review — Jurisdiction of courts.

(1) No person may acquire control of a domestic health carrier unless the person has filed with the commissioner and has sent to the health carrier a statement containing the information required by this section and the acquisition has been approved by the commissioner as prescribed in this section.

     (2) The statement to be filed with the commissioner under this section must be made under oath or affirmation and must contain the following information:

     (a) The name and address of the acquiring party. For purposes of this section, "acquiring party" means each person by whom or on whose behalf the acquisition of control under subsection (1) of this section is to be effected:

     (i) If the acquiring party is an individual, his or her principal occupation and all offices and positions held during the past five years, and any conviction of crimes other than minor traffic violations during the past ten years;

     (ii) If the acquiring party is not an individual, a report of the nature of its business operations during the past five years or for such lesser period as the person and any predecessors have been in existence; an informative description of the business intended to be done by the person's subsidiaries; any convictions of crimes during the past ten years; and a list of all individuals who are or who have been selected to become directors, trustees, or executive officers of the person, or who perform or will perform functions appropriate to those positions. The list must include for each such individual the information required by (a)(i) of this subsection.

     (b) The source, nature, and amount of the consideration used or to be used in effecting the acquisition of control, a description of any transaction in which funds were or are to be obtained for any such purpose, including a pledge of assets, a pledge of the health carrier's stock, or the stock of any of its subsidiaries or controlling affiliates, and the identity of persons furnishing the consideration. However, where a source of the consideration is a loan made in the lender's ordinary course of business, the identity of the lender must remain confidential if the person filing the statement so requests.

     (c) Fully audited financial information as to the earnings and financial condition of each acquiring party for the preceding five fiscal years of each acquiring party, or for such lesser period as the acquiring party and any predecessors have been in existence, and similar unaudited information as of a date not earlier than ninety days before the filing of the statement. If the acquiring party and any predecessor has not had fully audited financial statements prepared during any of the preceding five years, then reviewed financial statements may be substituted for those years, except for the latest fiscal year which must be fully audited financial statements.

     (d) Any plans or proposals that each acquiring party may have to liquidate the health carrier, to sell its assets or merge or consolidate it with any person, or to make any other material change in its business or corporate structure or management.

     (e) The number of shares of any security or number and description of other voting rights referred to in RCW 48.31C.010(3) that each acquiring party proposes to acquire, the terms of the offer, request, invitation, agreement, or acquisition under RCW 48.31C.010(3), and a statement as to the method by which the fairness of the proposal was arrived at.

     (f) The amount of each class of any security referred to in RCW 48.31C.010(3) that is beneficially owned or concerning which there is a right to acquire beneficial ownership by each acquiring party.

     (g) A full description of any contracts, arrangements, or understandings with respect to any security referred to in RCW 48.31C.010(3) in which an acquiring party is involved, including but not limited to transfer of any of the securities, joint ventures, loan or option arrangements, puts or calls, guarantees of loans, guarantees against loss or guarantees of profits, division of losses or profits, or the giving or withholding of proxies. The description must identify the persons with whom the contracts, arrangements, or understandings have been entered into.

     (h) A description of the purchase of any security referred to in RCW 48.31C.010(3) during the twelve calendar months before the filing of the statement, by an acquiring party, including the dates of purchase, names of the purchasers, and consideration paid or agreed to be paid for the security.

     (i) A description of any recommendations to purchase any security referred to in RCW 48.31C.010(3) made during the twelve calendar months before the filing of the statement, by an acquiring party, or by anyone based upon interviews with outside parties or at the suggestion of the acquiring party.

     (j) Copies of all tender offers for, requests or invitations for tenders of, exchange offers for, and agreements to acquire or exchange any securities referred to in RCW 48.31C.010(3), and, if distributed, of additional soliciting material relating to the securities.

     (k) The term of an agreement, contract, or understanding made with or proposed to be made with a broker-dealer as to solicitation or securities referred to in RCW 48.31C.010(3) for tender, and the amount of fees, commissions, or other compensation to be paid to broker-dealers with regard to the securities.

     (l) Such additional information as the commissioner may prescribe by rule as necessary or appropriate for the protection of subscribers of the health carrier or in the public interest.

     If the person required to file the statement referred to in subsection (1) of this section is a partnership, limited partnership, syndicate, or other group, the commissioner may require that the information required under (a) through (l) of this subsection must be given with respect to each partner of the partnership or limited partnership, each member of the syndicate or group, and each person who controls a partner or member. If a partner, member, or person is a corporation, or the person required to file the statement referred to in subsection (1) of this section is a corporation, the commissioner may require that the information required under (a) through (l) of this subsection must be given with respect to the corporation, each officer and director of the corporation, and each person who is directly or indirectly the beneficial owner of more than ten percent of the outstanding voting securities of the corporation.

     If a material change occurs in the facts set forth in the statement filed with the commissioner and sent to the health carrier under this section, an amendment setting forth the change, together with copies of all documents and other material relevant to the change, must be filed with the commissioner and sent to the health carrier within two business days after the person learns of the change.

     (3) If an offer, request, invitation, agreement, or acquisition referred to in subsection (1) of this section is proposed to be made by means of a registration statement under the Securities Act of 1933 or in circumstances requiring the disclosure of similar information under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, or under a state law requiring similar registration or disclosure, the person required to file the statement referred to in subsection (1) of this section may use those documents in furnishing the information called for by that statement.

     (4) The commissioner shall approve an exchange or other acquisition of control referred to in this section within sixty days after he or she declares the statement filed under this section to be complete and if a hearing is requested by the commissioner or either party to the transaction, after holding a public hearing. Unless the commissioner declares the statement to be incomplete and requests additional information, the statement is deemed complete sixty days after receipt of the statement by the commissioner. If the commissioner declares the statement to be incomplete and requests additional information, the sixty-day time period in which the statement is deemed complete shall be tolled until fifteen days after receipt by the commissioner of the additional information. If the commissioner declares the statement to be incomplete, the commissioner shall promptly notify the person filing the statement of the filing deficiencies and shall set forth with specificity the additional information required to make the filing complete. At the hearing, the person filing the statement, the health carrier, and any person whose significant interest is determined by the commissioner to be affected may present evidence, examine and cross-examine witnesses, and offer oral and written arguments, and in connection therewith may conduct discovery proceedings in the same manner as is allowed in the superior court of this state. All discovery proceedings must be concluded not later than three business days before the commencement of the public hearing.

     (5)(a) The commissioner shall approve an acquisition of control referred to in subsection (1) of this section unless, after a public hearing, he or she finds that:

     (i) After the change of control, the domestic health carrier referred to in subsection (1) of this section would not be able to satisfy the requirements for registration as a health carrier;

     (ii) The antitrust section of the office of the attorney general and any federal antitrust enforcement agency has chosen not to undertake a review of the proposed acquisition and the commissioner pursuant to his or her own review finds that there is substantial evidence that the effect of the acquisition may substantially lessen competition or tend to create a monopoly in the health coverage business.

     If the antitrust section of the office of the attorney general does not undertake a review of the proposed acquisition and the review is being conducted by the commissioner, then the commissioner shall seek input from the attorney general throughout the review.

     If the antitrust section of the office of the attorney general undertakes a review of the proposed transaction then the attorney general shall seek input from the commissioner throughout the review. As to the commissioner, in making this determination:

     (A) The informational requirements of RCW 48.31C.020(1)(a) apply;

     (B) The commissioner may not disapprove the acquisition if the commissioner finds that:

     (I) The acquisition will yield substantial economies of scale or economies in resource use that cannot be feasibly achieved in any other way, and the public benefits that would arise from the economies exceed the public benefits that would arise from more competition; or

     (II) The acquisition will substantially increase or will prevent significant deterioration in the availability of health care coverage, and the public benefits of the increase exceed the public benefits that would arise from more competition;

     (C) The commissioner may condition the approval of the acquisition on the removal of the basis of disapproval, as follows, within a specified period of time:

     (I) The financial condition of an acquiring party is such as might jeopardize the financial stability of the health carrier, or prejudice the interest of its subscribers;

     (II) The plans or proposals that the acquiring party has to liquidate the health carrier, sell its assets, consolidate or merge it with any person, or to make any other material change in its business or corporate structure or management, are unfair and unreasonable to subscribers of the health carrier and not in the public interest;

     (III) The competence, experience, and integrity of those persons who would control the operation of the health carrier are such that it would not be in the interest of subscribers of the health carrier and of the public to permit the merger or other acquisition of control; or

     (IV) The acquisition is likely to be hazardous or prejudicial to the insurance-buying public.

     (b) The commissioner may retain at the acquiring person's expense any attorneys, actuaries, accountants, and other experts not otherwise a part of the commissioner's staff as may be reasonably necessary to assist the commissioner in reviewing the proposed acquisition of control. All reasonable costs of a hearing held under this section, as determined by the commissioner, including reasonable costs associated with the commissioner's use of investigatory, professional, and other necessary personnel, mailing of required notices and other information, and use of equipment or facilities, must be paid before issuance of the commissioner's order by the acquiring person.

     (c) The commissioner may condition approval of an acquisition on the removal of the basis of disapproval within a specified period of time.

     (6) Upon the request of a party to the acquisition the commissioner may order that this section does not apply to an offer, request, invitation, agreement, or acquisition as:

     (a) Not having been made or entered into for the purpose and not having the effect of changing or influencing the control of a domestic health carrier; or

     (b) Otherwise not comprehended within the purposes of this section.

     (7) The following are violations of this section:

     (a) The failure to file a statement, amendment, or other material required to be filed under subsection (1) or (2) of this section; or

     (b) The effectuation or an attempt to effectuate an acquisition of control of a domestic health carrier unless the commissioner has given approval.

     (8) The courts of this state have jurisdiction over every person not resident, domiciled, or authorized to do business in this state who files a statement with the commissioner under this section, and over all actions involving that person arising out of violations of this section, and such a person has performed acts equivalent to and constituting an appointment by that person of the commissioner to be the person's true and lawful attorney upon whom may be served all lawful process in an action, suit, or proceeding arising out of violations of this section. Copies of all such lawful process shall be served on the commissioner and transmitted by registered or certified mail by the commissioner to such a person at the person's last known address.

[2001 c 179 § 3.]